In a shocking display of newfound fiscal restraint, President Obama this week threatened to veto his own defense bill. Obama made the threat after a last-minute addition to the bill that added funding for seven more F-22 Raptor fighter attack aircraft. The Raptors cost about $350 million per aircraft, adding $1.75 billion to the $680 billion defense bill. The Raptor is a fifth- generation aircraft that features advanced integrated avionics and electronic warfare systems, stealth technology, thrust vectoring, higher mach cruising speeds and superior weapons. Lockheed Martin ( LMT) and Boeing ( BA) are building the Raptor, along with numerous subcontractors such as Northrop Grumman ( NOC) and Texas Instruments ( TXN). The media have characterized this funding battle as a political one, but that's only part of the debate. The Raptor program employs close to 100,000 people from New Hampshire to California. In a recession where saving jobs is an administration precept, we're seeing some interesting battle lines being drawn, with Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) on one side urging additional funding, and senators from states that will be impacted by a reduction of aircraft on the other side. In my opinion, the political debate is secondary to future needs of our nation. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates believes aircraft like the Raptor are not needed because future wars will be similar to the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, not "peer engagements," with countries like the former Soviet Union. He also believes the F-35 Lightning II, the Joint Strike Fighter, will be able to fulfill the nation's future air superiority needs.