By his own admission, gregarious, blustering Defense Secretary Louis Johnson is a man with an elephant-thick hide. But the mounting charges that his heavy-footed economy was wrecking U.S. defenses stung him last week into a trumpeting roar of defiance: "The defenses of the United States as of today are, in the opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, myself, and the President, sufficient unto the needs of the hour."

That was not quite saying, as he had the week before, that U.S. defenses were "in grand shape." But it seemed on the face of it almost as far from the...

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