by George Landrith • Daily Caller
National security conservatives and military experts have long warned about steep cuts to the defense budget in recent years. These warnings have been largely waived off even as even as the world continued to grow more dangerous and unstable – from Eastern Europe to the Middle East to the Korean Peninsula and South China Sea.
Today, the consequences of shortchanging defense have now become all too real, as our military has been forced into making dangerous trade-offs between size and technological superiority, training and maintenance, compensation and modernization, and much more. For example, the active U.S. Army is shrinking towards becoming its smallest since before World War II. The average age of an Air Force aircraft is 26 years, the oldest ever (aerial refueling tankers are past the half-century mark). And inadequate funding for Navy maintenance, training, and modernization has reduced readiness fleet-wide and contributed to a growing shortfall of strike fighters – in particular the F/A-18 Super Hornets that are the mainstay of carrier aviation wings. Continue reading
by Gillian Rich • Investor’s Business Daily
A matchup between Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 vs. the older A-10 Warthog isn’t so “silly” after all. The Pentagon’s Office of Operational Test and Evaluation said late Thursday that it would run tests to evaluate how the F-35 stacks up in close-air support vs. the A-10, according to Defense News. The tests will use the latest upgrade of the 3F software for the F-35 and take place in 2018.
Lockheed shares fell 0.9% to 203.61 in late-afternoon trade in the stock market today.
The announcement comes after Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh told the press Monday that he wasn’t aware of any tests between the two planes and said a matchup “would be a silly exercise.” Continue reading
by Peter Huessy
The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget makes a defense spending request that exceeds the Budget Control Act (BCA) spending cap for FY16 by $35 billion with a “base” defense spending request of $534 billion, while also asking Congress for an additional $51 billion for what is known as Overseas Contingency Operations(OCO) that are, under law, not subject to the spending caps.
Of the amount requested by the President, for what is known as the “base” defense budget, $209.8 billion is for operations and maintenance (O&M), $107.7 billion is for procurement, and $69.8 billion for research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E).The remaining costs (largely personnel) are exempt from any cuts.
For the OCO accounts, $40.2 billion is for O&M, and $7.3 billion is requested for procurement with half of that for the US Army. Continue reading
by Peter Huessy
One area of controversy is the nuclear modernization accounts which will receive at least an additional $1.2 billion in funding, from a $23.5 billion level for the current fiscal year. They account for 4% of the defense accounts and 0.6% of the Federal budget.
Included is more modernization funding for warhead activities, the Ohio class submarine replacement program, a new long range bomber and a follow-on air launched cruise missiles, as well as the land based Minuteman missiles or ground based strategic deterrent. Continue reading
by Peter Huessy
Cutting $70 billion over the next ten years from America’s nuclear deterrent is the goal of a number of proponents of global zero. The cut would be equal to roughly 25% of all planned nuclear deterrent expenditures. The idea is to delay building a new dual capable strategic bomber while also cutting the number of nuclear submarines to replace the current Ohio class boomers. In both cases, the arms control enthusiasts pushing such policies are missing the boat–their budget numbers do not add up and their strategic thinking is off base. Continue reading
by George Landrith • Townhall
The US and several other nations have been in “talks” in hopes of negotiating with Iran to stop its nuclear program in exchange for lifting the UN sanctions. But those negotiations have gone no-where. On Monday, the deadline came and went without an agreement.
Extending the deadline to permit more “talks” will not likely protect a single person. It just gives Iran more time to develop a bomb. Why would Iran agree to limit itself when obtaining the bomb will allow it to threaten its way out of sanctions? Even if Iran were to agree to something, there is virtually no chance that the Mullahcracy will keep its promise when they are so close to obtaining the bomb they clearly covet. Continue reading
By Peter R. Huessy
On September 18th, a senior group of professional nuclear deterrent experts gathered in Washington, D.C. to hear the top nuclear deterrent and policy leaders in the country’s military and civilian leaders to discuss the challenges we face in the future to keep America and her allies and friends safe and secure. One speech at the event in particular was noteworthy and that was from Chairman Mike Rogers of the House Armed Services Sub-Committee. He addressed the “Fifth Bi-Annual Triad Conference on The Strategic Nuclear Enterprise: Implementing the Roadmap Ahead”, an event sponsored by the Task Force 21, Minot in association with the Air Force Association and Geo-Strategic Analysis.
Of particular note was Chairman Roger’s remarks that the continued aggression by the Russians had a way of “sharpening the mind “as the “international system led by the United States has its hands full.” Here are the Chairman’s remarks.
Chairman Mike Rogers, “The Strategic Nuclear Enterprise: Implementing the Roadmap Ahead”, September 18, 2014
These gatherings are an important means of communication and discussion on the future of the strategic deterrent, and I thank you for inviting me.
We meet at an interesting time for nuclear deterrence and strategic issues—to say the least.
I don’t have to tick through the list for this crowd, but I can summarize by saying our friend over in Russia has a way of sharpening the mind.
Coupled with the challenge of China in the Pacific and the Islamic State’s acute threat to stability in the Middle East, the U.S.-led international system has its hands full.
Interestingly, some have commented that we may be witnessing a return to the normal state of international affairs.
After a suspension of history for the past couple decades where non-state actors often took center stage, we’re seeing a return to an international order where nation-states—and the interaction between them—play the paramount role in world affairs.
Perhaps it is fitting that this occurs on the 100th anniversary of the so-called “War to End All Wars.”
As this shift occurs, the strategic issues to which you and I pay so much attention will once again come to the forefront.
Today we’re talking about something that, almost by definition, is fundamental to strategic affairs: the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
We all know that the people, infrastructure, delivery systems, weapons, and policies that comprise this deterrent have seen their share of turmoil lately.
But, there may be grounds for optimism that the turmoil will subside.
Much of this has been self-inflicted by the political and budget dysfunction here in Washington.
And, I am hopeful that—perhaps in the new year—Congress will be able to find that budget solution.
That’s step number one.
Step number two is ensuring that we invest in a wise and prudent manner to ensure we have a robust and dominant deterrent.
The Strategic Forces Subcommittee that I lead has been in the forefront on this. Through both legislation and oversight we’ve been pushing the system to achieve our goals.
Obviously, we have more work to do.
When compared with the commitments made by the Administration to win ratification of the New START treaty, the NNSA remains dramatically underfunded by over $2 billion.
More important than just the funding shortfall: important life extension programs and infrastructure modernization projects have been delayed, deferred, or canceled.
Efforts to find efficiencies within the NNSA have been—for the most part—stymied.
We will continue to push the NNSA enterprise to streamline, reduce bureaucracy, and deliver for the military and the nation. They have an able leader over there now in General Klotz.
And, I’ve got a subcommittee that is eager for change.
I look forward to the results of the congressional advisory panel and working with my colleagues and NNSA leadership to see how we can help.
Across the river at the Department of Defense, we’ve seen delays to delivery systems, including the Ohio-class replacement submarine and the long-range cruise missile (known as LRSO).
I continue to believe we, as a nation, will come to regret these two decisions in particular.
The delays to these programs have taken all schedule margin out of some extremely complex and long-term acquisition programs.
My subcommittee unsuccessfully fought against the delay to Ohio-Replacement several years ago.
As it stands today, I am deeply concerned that we have more than 15 years to go before the first submarine hits the water—and in this town 15 years amounts to 15 separate times to screw up the budget and delay the program.
Right now, in this year’s defense authorization bill, we are fighting to prevent the proposed three-year delay to LRSO.
Everyone within the system seems to recognize why this delay is a terrible idea: a fragile legacy system coupled with steadily advancing adversary air defense capabilities.
Not to mention a problem it creates in the form of a gap in production activities at NNSA.
I am hopeful we can contain the LRSO schedule slip to one year, as I proposed in the House-passed FY15 NDAA and as the military thinks it can accept.
Regarding the force structure we will have under New START, we should all be grateful that the Administration’s long-overdue decision in April of this year was the right one.
I say “right one” because it is the position my subcommittee has been pushing toward since the ink dried on the treaty.
So, the Navy will move to 20 deployed missile tubes in each boat, and the Air Force will remove missiles from 50 Minuteman silos—but keep the silos warm.
This course of action not only retains maximum flexibility and complicates adversary targeting, it also enables the Air Force to go in and refurbish silos on a rotating basis.
This will ease logistics in the missile fields and facilitate the transition to the ground-based strategic deterrent (GBSD) system that will come along in the late-2020s.
With Russia having said a firm “nyet” to the President’s offer for further reductions—and there being no clear evidence that further reductions are in the U.S. national security interest in the first place—it is time to get on with the business of building our force for the future.
Speaking of the GBSD, I was pleased to see the recent results of the analysis of alternatives.
After a comprehensive look at the range of options, the Air Force is recommending a solution that utilizes the existing silos, focuses on leveraging technologies across the Services, and preserves options for the future.
All for basically the same amount that we’re spending today on the current system.
This is a reasonable investment and—importantly—costs essentially the same as simply continuing to life-extend the current Minuteman system out into the future.
We are also seeing a renewed focus from the Air Force on its nuclear mission.
This is the silver lining in the otherwise dark cloud of the missileer cheating that came to light last year.
It also provides the Air Force an opportunity to prove that it sees itself as more than just fighter jets.
That message needs to permeate the culture of the Air Force, from the cockpits to the staff offices, from the maintenance facilities, to the launch facilities, and the personnel system.
Secretary James and General Welsh, together with external and internal reviews conducted by DOD, have identified a series of actions.
Their focus on military personnel, morale, and leadership issues is a refreshing change from moving boxes on organization charts.
My subcommittee will remain supportive and…maybe the best phrase is optimistically-skeptical…of their efforts.
Let me close with a return to the strategic environment.
The challenges we face from Mr. Putin’s Russia are as real as they are grave.
A declining power, seeking to hold on to former glory by upending the international order, is immeasurably more dangerous when it is nuclear-armed. Let’s look at Russia’s recent actions:
· The illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of Eastern Ukraine.
· Nuclear threats and open discussion of plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Crimea.
· The deliberate violation of the INF Treaty
· The circumvention of New START, Open Skies, and numerous other agreements.
· Kidnapping of intelligence officials from neighboring states.
And let’s not overlook China and its new ICBMs and submarine-based nuclear forces.
Nor can we overlook the perpetually unstable relationship between two nuclear powers in South Asia—one of which may be heading towards another coup.
Or the ever-perilous Kim regime in North Korea, or the nuclear intentions of Iran.
Or the lessons learned in capitals around the world subsequent to Libya and Ukraine giving up their nuclear capabilities.
In other words, nuclear weapons will be with us for quite some time.
We need to recognize this. We need to recognize that the world is not about to come together and sing “kumbaya” as some hope it will.
We need to approach strategic affairs with our eyes wide open and with all of the tools we can bring to bear.
And the key tool upon which all else rests—and that we use every day—is a robust, flexible, and highly credible nuclear triad.
TO: Sen. Carl Levin, Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain, Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Dick Durbin, Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Sen. Thad Cochran, Chairman, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Rep. Buck McKeon, Chairman, House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Chairman, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Rep. Pete Visclosky, Ranking Member, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
Dear Senators and Representatives:
As you work your way through the defense budget and appropriations process you will be called upon to evaluate the need for the systems crucial to the defense of the American homeland. We, therefore, ask that you fully fund systems that are critical to our nation’s missile defense programs and are proven to work.
Missile threats around the world continue to grow. Russia reportedly just test fired six new air launched cruise missiles. We have also learned that North Korea has developed a nuclear warhead capable of placement on its ballistic missile. Our electrical grid is increasingly imperiled by the threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) caused by a nuclear detonation over the American homeland. And, as ever, Iran continues its march towards a nuclear missile. Continue reading
by Peter Roff
The world – as events in Iraq remind us – remains a dangerous place. The Russians are flexing their muscles while President Vladimir Putin tries to reassemble as much of the old Soviet Union as he can. The Chinese are trying to expand their territorial waters in Asia. North Korea apparently has the bomb while Iran wants one – badly.
In short, this is no time for the United States to step aside from its role as leader of the free world. As Franklin Roosevelt observed, America is “the arsenal of democracy,” making the weapons the rest of the world needs to secure their own defenses. Plans for downsizing the Pentagon until the U.S. military is at its smallest since before the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor places the nation and her allies at risk, especially from another surprise attack coming from an unexpected quarter. Continue reading
Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to invade neighboring nations to rebuild the former Soviet-era empire. Iran is on the cusp of developing nuclear weapons. North Korea is developing more powerful and more accurate ballistic missiles. China’s military is growing and modernizing as never before. Despite these growing threats, key defense programs are being cut with little regard for the increased risks.
We must ask ourselves a serious question — why are we shortsightedly cutting critical defensive systems in a time of increasing risk?
An example of these short-sighted military cuts is the Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance (AN/TPY-2). In 2011, national security and military experts determined that we needed a minimum of 18 high tech TPY-2 radar systems. These radars are highly capable and can search for, locate, and discriminate between real risks and benign objects. They are so powerful, they can detect, track, and distinguish objects smaller than a basketball from more than a thousand miles away. These radars can also guide THAAD anti-missile batteries or be forward based to scan the horizon for danger and attacks, protecting our troops and the homeland. Continue reading
“The US spends more money on defense than all the countries in the rest of the world together.”
Sound familiar? Years ago, Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream invented the “Oreo” briefing as part of his efforts as founder of Business Executives for National Security (BENS). Each “Oreo” represented $5 billion in defense expenditures. He stacked up the US “Oreos” compared to other countries such as China, Russia, and North Korea, and showed a really big stack of American “Oreos” while the Chinese and Russian “Oreos” were much smaller. Ergo, he concluded, the US can afford to get rid of a lot of its “Oreos” in fact more than half.
This claim is now a common media refrain and favorite fortune cookie analysis of the left. Among those seeking to cut US defense spending dramatically that indeed is their new bumper sticker: “The United States spends more on defense than all the rest of the countries in the world.”
Is the statement true? It actually is not only not true, when you think about it even if it were true, it still remains nonsensical on its face. Continue reading
Tonight we’re launching an effort which holds the promise of changing the course of human history.
by Scott L. Vanatter
Just over two years as our president, Ronald Reagan concluded an important address on the nation’s defense with the following characterization of the Strategic Defense Initiative, “My fellow Americans, tonight we’re launching an effort which holds the promise of changing the course of human history. There will be risks, and results take time. But I believe we can do it. As we cross this threshold, I ask for your prayers and your support.” Continue reading