In the fall of 1996 while preparing the budget for fiscal year 1998, then Defense Secretary William Perry signaled that his final numbers would reflect a necessary shift in defense priorities for the Clinton administration. Dr. Perry said more dollars had to flow into procurement to ensure that all the services could buy follow-on weapons needed early in the 21st century. That was Dr. Perry's promise-the reality is quite different.
For the Navy, a shift in the Department of Defense's budget priorities would have meant building more new ships, submarines, and aircraft after years spent focusing attention on near-term readiness challenges. Instead, Navy and Marine Corps procurement accounts will not rise in 1998; they will drop by a combined $1.9 billion.