Ober­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

De­fense of­fi­cials say they are up­set by re­cent com­ments made to Demo­cratic con­gres­sional staffers by Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry A. “Trey” Ober­ing III, di­rec­tor of the Mis­sile De­fense Agency.

Gen. Ober­ing was asked dur­ing a private meet­ing with the Demo­cratic staffers on the House Armed Ser­vices strate­gic forces sub­com­mit­tee how much of a cut in money for a third mis­sile de­fense in­ter­cep­tor site in East­ern Europe he could live with.

The three-star gen­eral told the staffers that his bot­tom line was $160 mil­lion, a to­tal of $150 mil­lion less than Pres­i­dent Bush re­quested for the in­ter­cep­tor site. The site is the fo­cus of U.S.-Rus­sian gov­ern­ment wran­gling and a tar­get of anti-de­fense left­ists in both Europe and the United States.

A week af­ter the meet­ing, the sub­com­mit­tee fol­lowed through with Gen. Ober­ing’s bot­tom line and cut the money out of the de­fense au­tho­riza­tion.

“It’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing to see how money is cut from de­fense pro­grams, but ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials like Gen. Ober­ing typ­i­cally de­fend the pres­i­dent’s bud­get re­quest, not the de­mands of Democrats,” said one spe­cial­ist on mis­sile de­fense who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

“I guess it doesn’t take much to sat­isfy the Ira­nian mul­lahs and House Democrats but Trey Ober­ing’s fig­ured out how to do it,” the of­fi­cial said.

Asked about Gen. Ober­ing’s meet­ing with the Demo­cratic staff mem­bers, a Mis­sile De­fense Agency spokesman said: “Gen. Ober­ing sup­ports the pres­i­dent’s bud­get re­quest. It is still very early in the bud­get process, and we will con­tinue to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to Congress on the im­por­tance of full fund­ing for the radar and in­ter­cep­tor sites in Europe.”

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