Congress Must Fund Our Real National Priorities
Demand Congress end funding fantasy weapons. Fulfill commitments to Veterans and harness American expertise to meet the real 21st century national security threats.
As I’ve stated before, “Today, only in fantasy may one speak truth.” However in today’s world, I am constantly amazed people think it’s fiction. As history as shown from Dante, to Bob Dylan singing about “…all the funds in Cuba” in 1964, truth comes in many forms. Misunderstanding fact from fantasy has real consequences to all Americans.
With the new fiscal year on October 1, 2016, defense lobbyists are warning Americans about dire national security threats to scare the unknowing and cower the Congress. We who know truth, have heard it all before. Unfortunately, when the Congress believes the fantasy, it costs taxpayers $billions.
This year it’s the Air Force’s B-21 strategic bomber. In March 2016, Congress learned the B-21 estimated cost was over $550 million each. Coming after revelations of the multi-billion dollar cost over runs on the F-35 program (now exceeding a trillion dollars), the defense bureaucracy had the solution. They wanted funds from the Navy’s SSBN(X) next generation nuclear submarine to fill in the B-21 funding gap.
Anyone familiar with interservice rivalry for annual budget appropriations knows how the Navy reacted to that proposal. But all was taken care of by September 2016. The Air Force recalculated the B-21 cost to a mere $511 million each just in time for the start of the new fiscal year. But a new twist arose when the annual “World Threat Assessment” concluded that the B-21 was incapable of penetrating a sophisticated anti-air defense system. In other words, the B-21 was incapable of fulfilling its mission. Again the Air Force had the solution, announcing the requirement for a new stealth fighter to escort the B-21. Not satisfied with the F-22 or the F-35 just entering service and again requesting a budget increase, the Air Force wants a new fighter escort for the B-21. Truth or fantasy?
Post-WW II studies on strategic bombing proved that although killing civilians, it did little to end the war. The studies were buried by the Defense bureaucracy when thermonuclear weapons gave the strategic bomber a new lease on life. In Vietnam, the US dropped more bombs than in all of WW II, again killing many civilians but without even adding to victory. In an era of “fire and forget” hypersonic anti-air missiles, space-based warning systems connected to microwave acquisition and targeting radars, the era of manned bombers penetrating a sophisticated air defense network is as obsolete as a cavalry charge. In the ’50s the strategic bomber was a viable part of the nuclear triad concept with ICBMs and Nuclear Submarines. However with the ’80s development of highly accurate strategic missiles for both land and sea-based platforms and deployment of the cruise missile, a manned bomber is irrelevant. The concept of “stealth” is another fantasy. The success of the F-117 in 1991 was a lesson learned by our allies and our opponents. Referring to open source data, I will only say that effective defense against stealth technology is fully integrated into the air defense systems of the world, as discovered in 2003 Iraq (a tactical area described, at best, “semi-sophisticated”). The defense bureaucracy answer to these truths: Spend $billions on new fighter planes.
Time to stop wasting taxpayer funds. I understand the Air Force’s desire to keep it’s thousands of “program acquisition” personnel employed in Washington, DC, and why the defense establishment fears the technological advancements in robotics, drones, nanotechnology, and AI are quickly making the concept of “manned” aircraft obsolete. The US currently has the B-2 strategic stealth bomber and the supersonic B-1 bombers to perform strategic missions. The F-15E Strike Eagle with its extended range fuel tanks can deliver weapons anywhere globally. We don’t need a new platform, we need training dollars to keep our Air Force warriors and their AWACS teammates at peak efficiency to remain the best in the world.
The truth of obvious solutions:
- Cancel these obsolete weapons programs, and retire the B-52 (deployed since 1955). A recent GAO report found that the DoD spent over $50 billion in the last three decades on weapons never deployed. With rapid advancement in technology, budgeting for manned aircraft for 2040 is a waste of taxpayer funds. There will be no Jeti Knights in future conflicts, only R2D2s. Fantasy makes a great movie, but Americans need the truth on national security issues.
- Reprogram acquisition funds for our current aircraft and for tactical training for all military tier-one combat units. Every tactical battalion and squadron unit, should spend at least two months a year at the Yuma or Barstow training areas, and the South Pacific training areas around Guam. Specialized units should also have jungle and mountain training at Eglin, Florida and the 10th Mountain Division facility in Colorado. Training costs money and sweat, but its “truth” saves a lot of blood.
- Reprogram additional funds into fulfilling our promises to our Veterans. We can build robotic limbs for every Veteran in need, and still have funds for their education and medical benefits promised.
- To our friends in the defense companies, I say: You are the best mechanical and electronic engineers in history. Your knowledge of technical construction and materials is unsurpassed. Americans need a high-speed rail system, connected to an efficient mass transit system in all our large cities. We need new technologies and products to harness alternative energy sources and new materials to rebuild our collapsed infrastructure if we are to remain the most powerful nation in the 21st Century. Time to stop focusing on this quarter’s profit and think about the next century’s profit potential.
Vote wisely. Once you understand the issues, the solutions become obvious.