Home » News » Acquisition Reform » F-35 to LCS at Risk Says Panetta

F-35 to LCS at Risk Says Panetta

by John Reed on November 15, 2011

In case you haven’t heard, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta dropped some news that sent the beltwar press buzzing yesterday when he said that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter may have to be cancelled outright if the Congressional Super Committee charged with trimming billions of dollars from defense coffers fails to do so.

The Super Committee is trying to shave billions more on top of the $450 billion in savings that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlined earlier this year. The committee has until November, 23 to come up with a plan to reduce the United States’ deficit by cutting about $1.2 trillion in government spending over the next decade. If it fails to do so, the Pentagon will face an automatic cuts — under a process officially called sequestration — of about $500 billion spread out over the next decade.

Such massive cuts would likely kill programs such as the JSF, the Littoral Combat Ship, major space efforts, Army chopper modernization plans, ICBMs,  ground combat vehicle modernization, and see the next generation bomber cancelled and possibly restarted sometime in the 2020s, according to a pair of letters (below) that Panetta sent to Sens. John McCain (R-Az) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) yesterday.

These $500 billion in cuts — about $100 billion a year starting in fiscal year 2013 —  would shrink the Army to the smallest  it’s been since before World War II, the smallest number of ships since 1915 and the smallest Air Force in the service’s history, reads a Nov. 14 letter from Panetta to Sen. John McCain (R-Az.).

“We would also be forced to terminate most large procurement programs in order to accommodate modernization reductions that are likely to be required,” reads the letter.

Click through the jump to read Panetta’s letters to McCain and Graham:

Panetta McCain Graham Ltr

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{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

@4FingrsOfBurbon November 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm

The F-35 program should of started as only an AF variant. Then, once that is all designed and ready to go, move on to the other variants, hence spreading cost over time. Or it would of been a nice FFP (Firm, Fixed, Price) contract, instead of cost plus. I bet there wouldn't been so many delays and cost overruns. Hope it gets to stay though, we are too far down the rabbit hole now…

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mpower6428 November 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm

its decision time folks…. do we want to continue to spend on our military 10X's what the rest of the world spends, combined…?

dramatic cuts mean the end of dramatic programs.

the cold war is/has been over, proxy war costs to damn much, total war is national suicide. the hyper war with china has begun.

personnally i think cutting our military bugdet by half is a step in the right direction. no pre-war "new and shiney gadget" has survived the first 6 months of any war in the 20th century. BUT…..

dont you worry, not a dime of military spending will slashed, the members of the super commitee rely on "campaign finance" to maintain control of their respective districts.

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Splitpi November 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm

The thing about that statistic is shows how much we compensate our soldiers in comparison to say China. For instance, the PLA has about $114 Billion budget with ~4,585,000 personnel. If it is assumed all funding goes towards personnel, then the average pay is ~$24863.69 per personnel (China PPP is $7,600, so 3.272 Average personnel to PPP ratio) . Where as the US has about $698 Billion budget with ~2,936,000 personnel. If we like wise assume the same as PLA then the average pay is ~$237738.42 per person (US PPP is $47,200, so 5.037 Average personnel to PPP ratio). Or roughly the US personnel are paid 856.2% more on average (US PPP is 521.1% more than china). Reality is that this speaks more to the power of our economy and cost and standard of living than military expenditures.

But that doesn't mean things cannot be trimmed, but even if the US came down to a 3.272 Average personnel to PPP ratio of China, we would still have a budget of ~$380 billion which is still substantially higher than the next 8 countries combined (As the US economy IS larger than they are combined). All, this is showing is that US has a larger economy and cost and standard of living than the other countries for a comparable military size. I find the use of the statistic for anything other than showing US Personnel are paid more than say Chinease Personnel to be disingenuous for the above reasons.

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Jeff November 15, 2011 at 7:31 pm

"Do we want to continue to spend on our military 10x what the rest of the world spends, combined?"
Yes. We do. Just because the rest of the world is so foolish doesn't mean we should be.

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Nadnerbus November 16, 2011 at 1:22 am

We do not spend "10X the world combined." We spend around equal to or maybe a bit more than the rest of the world combined, or around an order of magnitude less than what you said. Still probably too much, and we are still getting ripped off by defense contractors, but not 10 times.

The US military, it's Navy and Air Force especially, guarantee an economic world order that the rest of the world depends on, the sometimes oxymoronic "Pax Americana." A strong argument can be made that we are shouldering too much of the budgetary burden for that (NATO is a hollow alliance), but I don't think anyone can deny that for a world that relies on global supply chains and the free flow of goods and funds, it would be a disaster if the US military was not there to keep the sea lanes open, and the bad actors in check.

A massive cut in US military capability not matched by an increase in her allies' spells future trouble somewhere along the line. Instead of calling the shots, we will be asking other's for permission. In short we will no longer be a supper power.

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Nadnerbus November 16, 2011 at 1:24 am

lol, supper power. We might be a Breakfast or Brunch power though.

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Mastro November 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I'm no LCS fan- but the FFG's are getting old- they need something to be the low end.

Certainly kill the ICBM- or keep only 20 or so as "fast flyers"- no need for a 100+ – just a program for the AF.

We can certainly cut back on armor- just put the M1's in storage if we need them.

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paperpushermj November 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm

"Put M1s in storage if we need them". So what do we do with the crews and the maintenance facilities, the makers of spare parts and the training facilities do we put them in storage as well.

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Lance November 16, 2011 at 6:07 am

Keep M-1s in service update the APCs and scrap stupid GCV and even dumber ICC and upgraded M-4 Carbines and M-1 tanks. Tell the dumb General in the Army to not waste money on useless programs.

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EJ257 November 16, 2011 at 10:19 am

If they don’t spend money on useless wasteful projects how are they going to get the cushy retirement positions on those company’s boards?

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Mastro November 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I didn't mean ALL of them- keep about 500 and make sure the Reserves keep the skill sets alive.

If Germany and the Netherlands can cut way back on tanks- we certainly can.

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PMI November 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm

"If Germany and the Netherlands can cut way back on tanks- we certainly can."

—And you believe this why? What bearing does the defense requirements of the Dutch have on that of the US?

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Matt November 17, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Yeah, cause whenever something goes to $hit in the world people always ask "where is the dutch army?!"

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paperpushermj November 17, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Mastro
I understand your reasoning concerning The Germans and Netherlands cutting back on their Defense But they justified that action by saying the Americans haven't and will come to our Aid if Needed.

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Exan November 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm

lol, we're all sitting here on internet blogs, playing armchair general with our favorite toys, talking about cuts

but this is only a breeze before a hurricane, the US is about to go the way of the USSR. in a year's time it'll be lucky to rival the Russian military

and like the US broke Russia's economic back when it was down, so will China make its move. prepare for WW3, or start learning Chinese, Pax Americana is about to die

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tiger November 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Rome had its time. So did Britannia. Maybe ours is fading too.

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Jeremy November 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Cuts like this would be disastrous…..

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Musson1 November 16, 2011 at 8:51 am

Ending the war in Iraq will save what $40 billion a year? Ending it for the next 10 years means we save $400 billion.

You guys just need to start thinking like they do in DC.

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Tee November 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Why do you think the Air Force agreed to upgrade the F-15's & F-16's, and the Marines have bought the 74 British Harriers. The Pentagon has known this was coming since the Super Committee was first announced. The Sad part is cutting the JSF (382 Billion) is only around 35% of the total 1.2 Trillion. I'm no fan of the JSF and think it should be canceled because of many other reasons,but what really worries me is the other 65% of the cuts. We as a Nation can't afford to Gut Our Military like this.

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Guest November 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Once again, these Harriers and "upgrades" are a piss poor alternative to an actual new fighter fleet. Keep dreaming guys. Panetta is bringing out the big guns to *discourage* the massive cuts, not stating what he wants to do.

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halcyon_ November 16, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I've been saying this was coming for the last year. The military should have been cutting waste for the past 20 years. In a way it's reputation has made it the poster child of wasteful spending.

For or against the JSF I think we all know it is more than likely doomed if no cuts can be agreed on by the deadline.

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tiger November 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Obama is still a "turn Swords into wind turbines" guy.

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hogan August 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm

agree on the F35.. buy new build F16's and 15's for a lot less.. and stop selling them to potential enemies… unload the LCS and purchase off the shelf allied frigates to fill the intended role or build and use more of the new WMSL coast Guard cutters.. we need to start thinking smarter

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juan November 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Sucks having a socialist traitor like Obama as President.

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tman November 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm

if only elections were closer

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blight November 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm

We were overdue for a defense scaledown. We are spending more on our military than we did in the Cold War, when we had twenty divisions ready to fight it out in Eastern Europe, a <600 ship Navy also ready to fight it out to the bitter end and a strategic apparatus ready to end the world in sixty minutes.

I don't see Congress magically conjuring money out of the "raise taxes" or "cut programs" bins to support increased military spending. We need to do BOTH to save the military we have: however a polarized voter base insists on my way or the highway, so we'll get nothing but the status quo.

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PMI November 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Technically we still have a <600 ship Navy :p

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PolicyWonk November 17, 2011 at 11:43 am

Whats the matter? Can't remember what you had for lunch? Please get a CLUE. This POTUS inherited a economic and financial disaster from the administration of George W Bush. Bush, inherited a militarily strong and financially sound nation with a budget SURPLUS.

It sucked far more to have an incompetent POTUS that started two wars without any plan to fund (or end) them; gave away massive amounts of taxpayer money in the largest example of corporate welfare in US history (Medicare Part D); gave away even more in tax breaks to the wealthiest .02% of the nation; and grew the US of the Us Govt to its largest ever (after inheriting the smallest one since the Kennedy Administration). Need a reference? Go and read all about it at the Congressional Budget Office web site. Want to know more? Read the National Intelligence Estimate from 2007 that outlines the national security nightmare that MORON president created in the middle east; Read the JCS report to the POTUS w/r/t military readiness of 2009 (the lowest it has been since Viet Nam).

All while Fox News told us all how GREAT everything was going.

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Steve November 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm

"Sucks having a socialist traitor like Obama as President."

Jeez, what took you ?, you were post 9 for Christ's sake !. I expected the Obama bashing to start sooner.

Juan, do you have anything useful to contribute to the issue of a humongous debit crisis other then "it's Obamas fault ?. We need to cut everywhere. Do you really think if McCain were President the cuts wouldn't be any deeper ?. We are finishing one war and hoping to wind down a 2nd CAUSE WE CAN'T AFFORD THEM !. The current costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is around 3.6 trillion. Is it impossible to not understand that some of that money might have been spent a bit more wisely, and might now be available for some nice toys for the USAF, USN and USMC.

Quite frankly I hope they do cut the F35. A stupid amount of money wasted already on a plane that doesn't do the job and I'm certain it's possible to find equally cost in-effective programs all around.

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jamFRIDGE November 16, 2011 at 7:41 am

So you’re recommending we throw away all the money we’ve already invested? Personally, I agree with “talk softly and carry a big stick,” but we are whittling that stick down. The problem isn’t the president, it’s Congress. The Democrats won’t make cuts to Medicaid or anything, and they “borrow” our Social Security money, then give it back to you with no interest. Anyone else did that, it’d be illegal.

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Splitpi November 16, 2011 at 9:41 am

$3.6 Trillion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I do not understand how that number was derived. All reports I have read indicate $1.8 Trillion has been spent over the last decade with an anticipated departure of US troops in 2015. And that number includes other anti-terrorism activities in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan.

So the reality is that not even $1.8 Trillion has been spent to date which is a number 200% smaller than the $3.6 Trillion you mention. http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government

To give you and idea $3.6 Trillion / 8 years = 450 Billion a year on average which is roughly 85% of the Average DOD budget over the same period. That to me indicates on face value the $3.6 Trillion has no substance.

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Guest November 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm

He also states that unmanned ISR programs could be cancelled.

Let's get real people, this is a warning to the SuperCommittee to get it's act together, not a wish list.

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Brian Black November 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm

“Hi. My name is Great Britain, and I’m an imperialist. I had an empire for longer than I can care to remember, and like many world powers, I thought that I could handle it. It took me a long time to realise how self destructive I was… always throwing my weight around, getting into fights. I slowly lost my friends and then my money… that was what forced me to come to terms with my problem, I was broke, just couldn’t afford the lifestyle anymore. Anyway, I’ve taken the twelve steps and I’ve been clean of empire since 1997. Do we have any new visitors to Fallen Empires Anonymous here today?”

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JE McKellar November 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Can Lockheed-Martin survive the cuts? We might as well nationalize the defense industry now, keep their profits in the Federal coffers, and keep the talent base employed. It's not like the free market was doing a great job bringing projects in on-time and on-budget, anyway.

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blight November 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm

There's either going the nationalization route, or encouraging small companies to compete. Small companies can't survive in a sparse business environment. What might be interesting is spinning off Phantom/Skunk Works as "design houses" charged with refining designs and contracting to larger companies for scaleup.

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Nick November 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I saw this coming, I am still in my first year as a civillian. I have seen what America is like, from the ouside. Its just like 2003 still, there isnt that much thought about the wars, they are far away things, a bad dream. We spend so much, and here our country is rotting away. Time for a big change…I used to collect weapons, now I cant aford them. Sounds familiar. Happier note: F-16xl/ 2000 please. ( if you cant afford an AR buy an AK).

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major.rod November 15, 2011 at 9:57 pm

yes, let's nationalize defense because socialism works so well.

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blight November 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm

SecDef should've just threatened to consolidate military bases in areas controlled by certain politicos who need to get their act together. Nothing like pulling out a military gravy train to bring the pols begging to keep that wonderful base in town. Stuff like Knox, Benning, Yakima and Andrews aren't going anywhere, but BRAC keeps putting off real pain and this would be a great way to save money and stick it to politicians who won't play nice.

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joe November 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm

start with cutting generals and admirals that do nothing but hold meetings for other generals and admirals.

Then eliminate their VIP planes.

Reduce the marine corps to one expeditionary force.

6 carriers and 3 amphibious warfare battle groups

Abandon the divisional structure for the army. reinstitute regiments each with its own airpower including reaper drones.

All bases to be joint facilities

Give me some time and I will come up with some other stuff

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Rob November 16, 2011 at 12:37 am

Use military properties for farming, solar & geothermal power.

Recycle anything that if of no use sitting in old military storage & old facilities.

Make a MilitaryLand(Disneyland) where people can take rides in tanks, aircraft & sea vessels.

Put advertisements in foreign countries for paid tours of U.S. military facilities.

Plug nuclear submarines into the power grid on coastal states. Give power back to the people!

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@E_L_P November 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm

The Super Committee is super bought and paid for by lobbyists foreign and domestic.

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paperpushermj November 15, 2011 at 7:19 pm

It seems everything above light infantry is out the door.
But is this not the ultimate wet dream of the Democrat Party.

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Tee November 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Just like Carter did in the 70's, with Obama, here we go again?

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nonito cabato November 15, 2011 at 7:30 pm

okay cut everything, then tell the son of a bitches in congress and lay all the card in the table TELL THEM THAT WE CAN ONLY DEFEND THE MAINLAND UNITED STATES AND NOT THE WORLD!

new plane is better than the old ones, F-15 F-16 F18 & others are too maintenance intensive and its falling apart! all you need is F-22 & F-35 just buy 600 plus F-22 block 35 for the airforce and bomber 300 eliminate everything! in the usaf arsenal

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OMEGATALON November 15, 2011 at 8:47 pm

There's more than enough money to fund programs like the F-35 and LCS as the US should withdraw all US troops from Europe, South Korea and Japan. The US spends $Billions to protect Europe, South Korea and Japan; but it should stop as these countries are major financial superpowers who should be spending their own tax-dollars defending themselves. Sell them all of the equipment necessary and step back as one of the things about having 12 aircraft carriers is that we don't need land bases.

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nick November 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I think tis is the last century of the carrier. 12 carriers, 12 stealth cruise missles. Just sayn…

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HP November 16, 2011 at 3:39 am

My thoughts exactly.

Most of the big toys are a waste of money when the enemy are fundamentalists with IEDs and RPG, and a democratic revolution in Iran will make us safer than dropping MODs on their nuclear facilities (which would only delay their programme and strengthen the regime).

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CaptSausage November 16, 2011 at 3:51 am

Was looking again at the F20 Tigershark & Scaled Composites Ares last night. They were very highly rated, very affordable and developed entirely at the manufacturers’ cost. So it is possible to make something very good on time and on budget, if generals learn to make do with today’s state of the art rather than gold plated dream machines, and if politicians and CEOs stop shafting each other.

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Chaostician November 16, 2011 at 9:34 am

I agree. Technology development & maturation should be decoupled from the system integration required in major defense acquisition programs. It is much more efficient and would result in less failed programs than the current state of practice our leaders commit us too. We actually can have it both ways. We can have cutting edge technology developed as commodities for integration into end item systems. We just need to develop & mature them, and sort out the good for the bad, before we think we can stick all the bells & whistles into a complex system and force it through the acquisition process.

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trevor November 15, 2011 at 9:24 pm

all that i have to say is why cancel a program that we have already spent money on. then that money is wasted.

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Skeletor November 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm

There is just not enough money to do it all, at least not what we are willing to allocate…
Japan, South Korea and Europe should have at least double the military capabilities they do now to deter and defend themselves… we should at least halve our deployed troops as they grow their militaries over the next few years… about a snowball's chance in hell it will ever happen (along with a lot of other reforms) but it is a start… a slightly smaller bur far more modern military with a lower permanent forward deployed footprint is the future…

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Billy November 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Uhhhhmmmmm……Lockheed Martin….we want our mothaf*ckn money back. In other words, we want a refund.

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Nick November 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I was so thinking this earlier today actually. Remeber when we had a small Army and when we needed a bigger one for a war we got the people to serve (for worthy causes not doomed by polotics) and we won the day? I believe in battles fought for survival, and a small military, ready to train the people. Tick tock, military economy. This is the tock.

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jamesb November 15, 2011 at 11:19 pm

He, he, he…..
I'm laughing at all the above comments….
If you guys think this Congress is gonna let Leon cut the F-35 for the Air Force, Navy, Marines and ALL the other coutries out there standing in line you're on crack!

This is politics guys….
Toughen up!…..

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Rob November 15, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I am all for the cancellations and cutbacks. It's a shame but truth is economy has been bad for most of our lives. We were just in denial. That same denial created the great and fragile economy we have.

I have faith our current military can handle any current threats
but I would suggest moving more land bases to the mexican border where it's undermanned.

If it makes Russia and China more aggressive, in any way, then it would be the time to revive the air/sea projects, among others. America rises to the call when needed. WWII proved that.

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dark sidius November 16, 2011 at 4:16 am

OK and after that pray for your life, because Iran and China await you on the corner, and nobody will help you, and the world become Chinese and muslim.

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Lance November 16, 2011 at 6:04 am

Your paranoid China would fall apart economically if they wanted war with use they need us for money like we need them for cheap crap. the current weapons can take out anything Iran has and can match Russia and China anytime. We must need to stop for now or we will end up like the Soviet Union and then it be too late to do anything.

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crackedlenses November 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm

China doesn't need to go to war with us, there are plenty of small dictatorships China can give weapons to that will do that for them….

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Jacob November 15, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Instead of going all-in on stealth jets, shouldn't we have gone for a high-low mix? Let the Raptors and JSFs do the air superiority and SEAD missions early on in a campaign, then once the environment becomes more permissive, let the F-15E's take over for bomb truck missions.

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chaos0xomega November 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm

You echo the sentiments that myself and countless other armchair air generals have made. The High/low mix should be adapted to high/low stealth/non-stealth mix. In terms of a ration it would look something like (pulling numbers out of my ass for demonstration purposes)1:2:4:8 High Stealth:Low Stealth:High Non-Stealth:Low Non-Stealth or in other terms F-22:F-35:F-15:F-16. I don't include strike/attack platforms such as the F-15E and A-10 as part of the mix because to me they never really seemed to be part of it, and in any case those platforms are (IMO) far more useful and shouldn't be constrained to some ratio.

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FtD November 16, 2011 at 12:42 am

everyone wants to drive a Ferrari but when your bank account does not agree with your thinking, GMC maybe the best compromise. A teen fighter only costs 1/3 of F35 so when your country doesn't have much money then this maybe the best compromise for the time being.

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@7thwave November 16, 2011 at 7:56 am

One thing for sure, I cannot stand people who cry about wanting to cut the defense budget. I cannot stand the way the so called American public wants to cut defense. Have they asked the REST of us,you know the other 99% if WE want to cut defense spending?
The answer to this is NO, they have not.Instead they sit their fat cans behind their desks investing in a broken monetary system called the stock market, crying about how much their friends in the stupid cheese wad bankers club, and how much of their money was stolen in fraudulent money scams cooked up to screw the remainder of us in the remaining 99% around.
Sure,lets cut defense…lets cut out the ability to defend shipping lanes for oil…something the small 1% does not think about when they drive their large rich ans suv cars around the town buying drugs and helping kill our service men and women overseas….
But hey,this is America….land of the stupid and land of the cowardice and land of the Chinese extension of their vision communism. All hail Obama and his posing behind the Chinese flag on American soil.
In closing, I say this….cut the defense budget, and I will be the first to take up arms against this pathetic excuse for a government…because I believe in a strong and vibrant country ran by us in the 99% who value freedom…not by the 1% who protest for free rides…something that lately the pathetic, lazy American public has grown accustomed too.

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itfunk November 16, 2011 at 10:15 am

Sure they have poll after poll shows that by far the majority of Americans want the cuts to fall on the military budget. You're not the 99% you're the 1% living off the American taxpayer without any shame.

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Splitpi November 16, 2011 at 11:14 am

I am not saying cuts shouldn't be made and waist curtailed in the defense budget, but what I am saying is that I do believe voters are completely understanding in what they say. I.e. Congress has an approval rating of 9%, yet they vote for their same candidate every election and then say it is the other candidate's fault.

Furthermore as an example, in 2008 the majority (57%) of the people who voted for Obama were polled by Zogby and falsely believed Republicans controlled Congress in 2007 and 2008 when in fact Democrats took over majority following the 2006 election.
http://www.zogby.com/news/2008/11/18/zogby-poll-a

[QUOTE]In addition to questions regarding statements and scandals associated with the campaigns, the 12-question, multiple-choice survey also included a question asking which political party controlled both houses of Congress leading up to the election — 57% of Obama voters were unable to correctly answer that Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.[/QUOTE]

I post this not to say Democrats are exclusively naive, rather I am posting this as a singular point of reference that could equally be applied to all voters. And thus firmly believe that a government run by the whims of the poll is destined for failure.

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@7thwave November 16, 2011 at 8:02 am

Here is food for thought….
Members of the Russians and the Chinese governments during the cold war held a meeting and foretold what would happen to the United States after the end of the so called cold war….And guess what, they were right. We lost the cold war….and every war in every country every where we have been involved in since 1992. Because we are week…pathetic….and lazy…and unwilling to risk what it takes to maintain our security.

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john November 16, 2011 at 8:49 am

Budget is based on requirements. If the military is no longer required to act as the world police, there would be little impact on the abliity to execute the mission.

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Uranium238 November 16, 2011 at 10:05 am

Should've built more F-22s instead of F-35s. They cut that program for its price, yet it seems like the F-35 is exceeding the F-22 program now as far as money. One is flying and in service, the other technically is not still.

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Michael November 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

So, if we cut the defense budget like this, will we increase our budget for cyber warfare?

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itfunk November 16, 2011 at 10:35 am

It's amazing how many narcissistic nut jobs the American taxpayer has to finance – the young fit men who would rather take the governments dime then find a job all the while raging about how special they are and how money should be taken from education, or the sick and old to pay for their lifestyle.

It's little wonder that the American taxpayer polls 3 to 1 for cutting military socialism.

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Mark November 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm

The Super Committee?

What the BLEEP is that? – this U.S. STYLE POLITBURO is clearly unconstitutional.

I wouldn't trust these incompetent lawyer-politicians to run a bake sale.

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chaos0xomega November 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Perhaps a potential solution (one which I do not particularly enjoy btw, I'm just trying to think way outside the box), is to make the entirety of the US Army into a reserve organization, keeping the AF and Navy as our first line of defense, and our Marines as our primary line of offense. We can cut a lot of expenditures by eliminating personnel, but I'd rather not eliminate valuable, trained professional soldiers when we can cut a significant chunk of expenditure simply by making them part time "citizen soldiers". Of course the downside to this is that we will have another 500k-600k people suddenly in need of full-time gainful employment.

In other words I'm advocating a "Weimar Republic" solution to limits being imposed on the size of the military (by financial issues rather than political/legal issues). There was once a saying that "The German Army is an army of 100,000 officers". Most of the staff was there to lay the groundwork for a VERY rapid mobilization and enlargement of the military into an effective fighting force on short notice, as well as to continue developing doctrine, tactics, strategy, policy, and general continuity.

We have to be realistic here, the Air Force and Navy have been at the forefront of ensuring national security for the past 50+ years. The Russians were never afraid of US infantry and armored forces pouring through the Fulda Gap, they were worried about American aircraft and missiles laying waste to their country. Of course, the country needs to retain the ability to mobilize ground forces on short notice both at home and abroad, and the Marine Corps can and will fulfill that role rather nicely (and they are the better choice given the fact that the alternative would be to disband them, something that most people don't seem to be willing to agree to).

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chaos0xomega November 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Note: The Marine Corps would be used as the stop-gap expeditionary force that they are while the Army would stand up for full-scale deployment.

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Joe Boyum November 16, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Marine corps? If we have Seals, the airborne, aircraft carriers, why do we need a second land army and a fourth airforce?

When was the last time we as a nation conducted a necessary amphibious assault?

Why do the marines need their own airforce? Why does the navy need its own land force aka seals,? Why do the marines and navy need seperate helicopter programs to duplicate the same effort? Back in the 80's they said the M-1 did not suit their mission was too heavy etc. What tank does the corps use now?

One word: Politics.

The marines have a strong lobby and good PR.

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chaos0xomega November 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Joe, I agree with you, but the Marines have the tradition of being forward deployed and forward leaning, while the Army has tended to be in more of a defensive posture through most of history. Realistically, any attack against the US is going to have to come from overseas, and we have the Navy and AF to handle that. If there is an attack on US soil, the Marines can rush in and turn the landing site into a meatgrinder while the Army builds up as a second line and comes in as an overwhelming force.

Of course we could always just get rid of the Marines, take a chunk of the Army and make it a reserve component, and another chunk and use it to fill the role of the Corps. That might actually be the better option.

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Brianvii November 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I hate to break your doomsday bubble, but the cuts will never happen. Anyone that follows politics and has a brain knows it's going to get voted out if the committee doesn't make a deal. The republicans will refuse to allow that to happen. The democrats will force the republicans to vote out the automatic cuts to medicare in return so there you have it. Nothing is going to happen so why do you people insist on playing this idiotic lie. The subcommittee itself is a giant lie.

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Grenadier November 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm

We seem to have money for Solyndra and countless other "good investments." Foreign aid/gifts to assorted dung heaps around the world seem impervious to budget cuts. Sounds like we'll help bail Europe out its current current crisis. Government continues to grow even as we discuss cutting the military including size, pay and retirement. It seems to me we should stop borrowing from the Chinese to spend on on programs and bounciness which are not proven absolutely essential. Of course essential is in the eye of the beholder. Don't worry, be happy!

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Grenadier November 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Bounus payments – not bouncines. Sorry.

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Phil November 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Why do we jsf when we have the f-22

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VietVet70 November 16, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Well don't we have a great bunch of Republican "wanna be president" morons. Glad this is the end of the road for McCain as he is a disgrace to all Vietnam veterans. Make those cuts for veterans. Reduce the forces to allow more Reserve Outfits to fight the next stupid war in Iran. Let a foreign nation "water board" one of our own and all hell will break loose. I will not and cannot recommend the US armed forces as a career anymore. Reduce benefits for Congressmen and Senators who haven't spent one day serving their country. No way have they received insider information to make themselves filthy rich before they leave their positions in Washington-B___ S___!

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rt964050292 November 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm

China is just sitting back and laughfing Building up there military with our money ,just waiting to be the last Super Power standing.

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Col G. Marston (ret) November 17, 2011 at 12:36 am

The F-35 has been a money blackhole from it's start. In the beginning it was supposed to cost just $35 mill – even though a new F-15 cost more. Since that bogus initial estimate the price of the F-35 has risen steadily, with R & D adding up and the latest guess is that the F-35 will settle to around the $165 mill AN AIRCRAFT range. Do we need stealth for all our aircraft? It is an incredible cost and can be beat as the F-117 shot down in Kosovo showed. When you can build 4 new F-15G for the same price as a F-35 we really have to question whether it is worth it.

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MasterCobra65 November 17, 2011 at 1:10 am

IMPEACH obama

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TIMBERSTORM November 17, 2011 at 1:30 am

In 10 years time, the Russians and Chinese AF will be flying their T-50 and J-20 stealth fighters as well as the enemy air forces to the US; I guess US pilots can pray that their 60-year old F-15 Eagles will still be up to the task of taking on the T-50 and J-20.

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chaos0xomega November 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm

In 10 years time, USAF pilots flying new production F-15 Eagles would outnumber the Russkies and Chicoms flying T-50s and J-20s by a 3 to 1 margin at least, and probably have at least twice as many flying hours each. Plus, at that point, with new manufacturing technology coming into use almost daily, the cost of a new production F-22 would be significantly less than it is now, and the production time significantly shorter as well. This does, of course, imagine that the F-22 line wasn't completely shut down but instead maintained in a "mothball" state.

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PMI November 15, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Both your numbers sound about right.

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PMI November 15, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Looked it up:

Current: 285 ships
High under Reagan: 594 in '87

The low point was in '07 at 278. The main difference being more Burke's being built over the past few years.
http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org9-4.htm

Be sure to look at the numbers during WW2 & even into the 60's.

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HP November 16, 2011 at 3:31 am

So the logical step is for the US to hand it’s empire duties to the next rising power?

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Brian Black November 17, 2011 at 5:47 am

It was certainly good fortune for Britain and Europe that the US was willing to engage globaly after the war; Perhaps not so comforting to think that China may fill the space left by a United States in decline.

It was eventually the state of Britains finances and economy after WWII that withered our power, influence and status; though it did take decades to wind things down. I feel that America needs some radical thinkers if it hopes to hold onto it's world position – just slicing lumps off budgets isn't going to fix any problems in the long term.

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Splitpi November 16, 2011 at 9:50 am

You can zero out the discretionary budget (DOD, Education, EPA, Executive Departments, etc…) and just have the mandatory budget (SS, Medicare, Medicaid, e.g. the entitlements) and interest payments , and we'll still run a $200 Billion a year deficit.

To me this is like putting a tourniquet around your wrist to try and stop bleeding from a femoral artery.

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blight November 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

If the Tea Party says no new tourniquets and the other side wants new band aids but no tourniquets, what are your options?

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itfunk November 16, 2011 at 10:29 am

dont you have a taxpayer funded job ?

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Splitpi November 16, 2011 at 10:43 am

Please elaborate what you mean. As it stands if you make the entire DOD budget = $0.00, the Department of Education budget = $0.00, the EPA Budget = $0.00, the Department of Energy budget = $0.00, the IRS budget = $0.00, the Executive Branch budget = $0.00, etc… along with the other laundry list of departments that operate and comprise our government and funded by the discretionary budget, you will still have a $200 billion federal deficit.

Budget info below based upon FY'10, I do not wish to dig too deep. FY '11 is worse and indicates the $200 billion deficit I mention above, and who knows about FY'12. Congress has pass a budget under normal process since 2006.
Discretionary budget = ~ $1.349 Trillion
Mandatory budget = ~$1.910 Trillion
Interest Payments = ~$0.197 Trillion
Total budgetary outlays = ~$3.456 Trillion

Total Receipts = $2.162 Trillion

Deficit = $1.294 Trillion (For FY'10)

So for FY'10: (Mandatory + Interest) – Receipts = $55 Billion surplus if everything other than SS, Medicare, Medicaid and interest payment was zeroed out. FY'11 has that being a deficit and FY'12 is even worse.

Your attempt to blame this on Tea Party has no merit since they didn't hold power in congress till FY'10 and budgets supposed to be set the previous year. And even then the Tea party is a minority in just one half of one branch of the government. Furthermore, the Leadership of the Executive Branch , the Senate and prior to 2010 elections the House all indicated that the mandatory budget was off the table in negotiations. And they have stuck to it and instead have solely focused on the discretionary budget…. which is mathematically incapable of solving the budget issue.

If the entitlements are supposed to be a self funded payroll tax, the FICA tax needs to be increased by 121% to cover the size of these programs. I.e. FICA needs to go from 15.3% (for self employed, 7.65% for employer/employee) to 33.8% for self employed ( 16.9% employee/employer). But this has been declared off the table, and quite frankly a doubling of the taxes to increase $0.865 Trillion FICA revenue to cover $1.910 Trillion in outlays will bankrupt everyone, but it will balance the budget.

So, no, it is not the defense budget nor discretionary budget nor the "Tea Party" that is bleeding the country. They are correctly trying to put the tourniquet over the femoral artery while the people in charge are still trying to apply it their wrist … or perhaps neck….

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