from In From the Cold by Spook86
Congressional supporters of the F-22 are vigorously fighting efforts to cap production at 187 jets. By a narrow margin, the House Armed Services Committee recently appropriated additional money for the Raptor, funds that will purchase parts and keep the assembly line open until Congress can (presumably) find money for additional aircraft.
But the administration has other ideas. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has long opposed the Raptor, believing the aircraft has little use in low-intensity conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. Budget czar Peter Orszag is also against the F-22, but for different reasons. Dating back to his days as Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Dr. Orszag has favored draconian cuts in Pentagon procurement programs, with the Raptor at the top of that list.
Still, that position ignores a few inconvenient truths about U.S. military policy and the F-22. First, U.S. military strategy is predicated on air supremacy; existing fighters like the F-15 and F-16 are getting long in the tooth, and their qualitative advantage is slipping. The Raptor is supposed to widen that gap, but if production ends at less than 200 aircraft, the USAF will only have enough aircraft to deploy 4-5 squadrons, given projected training requirements, maintenance and potential attrition. That's a rather slim margin for such scenarios as a China-Taiwan conflict.