Peter Spiegel
The Baltimore Sun
April 22, 2008

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday that U.S. military services are not doing enough to support soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, singling out the Air Force for adapting too slowly to the new enemies on those battlefields.

In unusually harsh public criticism, Gates said his attempts to get the Pentagon to help commanders more quickly on the ground have been “like pulling teeth,” and he blamed military leaders who are “stuck in old ways of doing business.”

He said he was particularly upset with the military’s failure to get more unmanned spy planes into the air over the two war zones – primarily an Air Force responsibility. While the number of drones has doubled in recent months, Gates has set up a task force to push for even more.

“We can do and we should do more to meet the needs of men and women fighting in the current conflicts while their outcome may still be in doubt,” Gates said. “Our services are still not moving aggressively in wartime to provide resources needed now on the battlefield.”

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