Mr. Panetta also will have to reform the weapons acquisition process that Mr. Gates has ignored for the past five years. This process has been beset with military mismanagement, huge cost overruns, and little congressional scrutiny. At the start of the Obama administration, Mr. Gates, who labels himself a cost-cutter, sponsored 91 defense acquisition programs at a cost of $1.6 trillion over the next 10 years; he will leave the Pentagon with 95 programs at a cost of $1.7 trillion. Mr. Panetta will have to deal with increasingly expensive weapons systems such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new class of ballistic missile submarines, and a new fleet of aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force. The Marines want a new amphibious vehicle even though they haven't conducted an amphibious landing since 1951. Mr. Gates calls all these systems "absolutely critical" for the nation's defense, but these weapons no longer reflect a balance between cost effectiveness and our national security.