Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement concerning the defense budget proposals announced today by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates:

 “Secretary Gates has set out major changes to the defense budget based on changed assumptions about the wars our military must be prepared to fight.  This is a good faith effort, and I appreciate the hard work and thoughtful consideration Secretary Gates and his staff put into these proposals.

 “However, the buck stops with Congress, which has the critical Constitutional responsibility to decide whether to support these proposals.  In the weeks ahead, my colleagues and I will carefully consider these proposals and look forward to working with Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen as we prepare the Fiscal Year 2010 defense authorization act.”