Monday, April 6, 2009

Defense Budget thoughts

SecDef Robert Gates released the new Defense Budget today. Lots of good things:
  • Ending the F-22 program at 187 airframes. These are a perfect example of the military preparing for some amorphous far-off possibility of a threat. The F-15 and F-35 can more than fulfill the air-superiority role.
  • Continuing the F-35 program. This is a much more flexible new aircraft than the F-22. Cheaper, too.
  • More funding for veterans programs.
  • Ditching the presidential helicopter program, which was on track to be over budget by 100%.
  • Reducing the number of contractors in favor of civil service and military employees.
  • And of course, acquisition/procurement reform. Let's hope that this is actually accomplished. I'm not really holding my breath. We'll see if Congress is willing to smack down the defense industry folks in their districts.
I don't think the cuts were deep enough on Missile Defense, but that's somewhat to be expected. I'm also skeptical about the need for a replacement for the Ohio-class missile sub. And I think that there's no such thing as "enough" C-17 transports. Airlift capacity is hugely important for a nimble, modern army.

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