Pentagon

America Is Drowning in Pandemic Debt, but Congress Still Wants To Buy the Pentagon New Toys

If we can't trim the Pentagon's budget this year, will we ever?

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America ran a $3.1 trillion budget deficit this year, the national debt is now the same size as the nation's entire economy, and an ongoing pandemic is straining public health budgets as millions of Americans are out of work and many businesses teeter on the edge of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Congress is debating how many shiny new toys the Pentagon should get next year at taxpayers' expense.

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans announced a new $1.4 trillion discretionary spending plan for next year that would send $696 billion to the Pentagon—that's a $10 billion increase over the military's current budget. A bill passed by the House in July would spend $694 billion on the Pentagon next year, so the big question facing lawmakers during the upcoming lame-duck session is whether the military gets 96 new fighter jets or whether it has to settle for a mere 91.

No, really. One of the major disagreements between the House and Senate is over how many F-35s taxpayers will buy from Lockheed Martin next year, reports Defense News, a trade publication for the military-industrial complex. The Senate wants to get 96 of them, while the House has authorized purchasing five fewer—though it should be noted that the Pentagon only asked for 79 new planes.

The various branches of the military already have 375 F-35 fighter jets, according to a July article from Air Force Magazine—far more top-of-the-line fighter jets than any other country in the world. But the planes have been criticized by the Government Accountability Office for being overpriced and failing to meet reliability goals.

Negotiations also loom over the number of new Virginia-class submarines—which cost about $5.5 billion apiece—to be built. The Navy asked for one, so naturally the House decided to budget for two. The Senate has included funding for just a single submarine, Defense News reports.

That's not sitting well with Rep. Joe Courtney (D–Conn.), whose district notably includes the submarine base in New London, Connecticut. In a statement on Tuesday, Courtney condemned the Senate's change to the submarine budget as "unworkable."

"The Navy needs more submarines," he said.

There may not be anything that better sums up the out-of-touch nature of congressional budget-making than a member of Congress demanding more submarines—submarines the Navy didn't even ask for—in the middle of an economic and public health crisis. Congress has authorized $3.8 trillion in emergency spending to fight COVID-19 since the pandemic hit in March—and, of course, lawmakers used that as an opportunity to hand more money to defense contractors, too.

America already spends more on its military than the next 10 largest countries combined. If ever there was a time for Congress to set budgets based on actual policy priorities, it would be this year.

Maybe the Pentagon can get by with only a few dozen new fighter jets and—gasp—no new submarines for a single year while the country fights an expensive war against an adversary that can't be defeated with guns and bombs.

NEXT: Trump Lost in Part Because 2016 Third-Party Voters Heavily Preferred Biden

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  2. I cannot support cutting the Pentagon’s budget at this time. President Biden will need the most powerful military possible in order to confront Putin.

    #LibertariansForGettingToughWithRussia

    1. Putin is retiring next year. He probably has Parkinson’s, because the Russian government denied that he has Parkinson’s.

      1. I’ll be waiting by the river.

      2. Well, even if Putin is out of the picture, it would be irresponsible to let Russia get away with controlling the US government for 4 years.

        #LibertariansForGettingToughWithPutinsSuccessor

      3. Read the Constitution recently? I can point you to the part that says something about raising and maintaining an Army. Can’t find the part about redistribution of wealth through social programs and outreach to illegal aliens.

  3. No thanks. Keep the defense budget, cut all the social programs.

    1. We could do both. But we won’t do either.

      1. Ding Ding Ding Winner!

    2. Ha, as if an extremely large portion of our defense spending isn’t just straight up welfare at this point.

      1. A lot of it is, but focusing on needed weapon systems and training budgets makes cutting that spending even less likely to be cut. Focus on the Congressionally mandated, make work, regulations that eat up so much of the budget, not modernization of outdated weapon systems, improving training etc. When you argue those, you just give the MIC fuel to counter your argument.

    3. And you caring so much about the military budget is the exact leverage we need to keep the social programs well funded. Thank you.

      1. Focusing on the Military budget (one of the only things Congress actually is allowed to spend money on according to the Constitution) removes any scrutiny of out of control social spending. Poll after poll (for what they are worth) have shown most Americans don’t even realize the military spending is far less than social welfare spending. This is because progressives have been extremely successful since FDR of hindering public scrutiny of social spending by hyperfocusing the public on military budgets.

    4. A lot of the defense budget is just another social program by another name.

      1. Empty talking points.

        1. If you believe this, and it is true to a degree, focus not on training and equipment but on makeshift work and waste. Focusing on training and equipment makes any chance of ending this unlikely.

  4. So… you’re complaining about a 1.4 percent increase (inline with inflation) from the $686B while ignoring the $3,000B mandatory spending that’s not voted on.

    You’re ignoring the elephant and looking at the mouse.

    1. As Mythbusters showed us, the elephant is indeed scared of the mouse.

    2. It is possible to be mad about both.

  5. You know a good way to lower the military’s budget?

    Stay out of a war in Syria and negotiate a full withdrawal agreement with the Taliban to get us out of Afghanistan forever.

    If only there had been a candidate for president who was in favor of that!!!

    1. True Libertarians care more about a pretense of civility and ensuring taxpayer funding for abortions than such trivial foreign policy issues!

    2. “The Islamic Emirate would like to stress to the new American president-elect and future administration that implementation of the agreement is the most reasonable and effective tool for ending the conflict between both our countries,” the militant group said in a statement, its first substantive comment on the results of the United States presidential election.

      . . . .

      Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump had made ending the war in Afghanistan a major campaign promise and had said in a Tweet in October that troops could be out of Afghanistan by Christmas, though officials such as his national security advisor have said that they were working to the May 2021 deadline.

      —-Reuters, November, 10, 2020

      https://lta.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-afghanistan-taliban-idUSKBN27Q0QS

      Last word I heard from Biden opposed Trump’s withdrawal agreement with the Taliban. He supported the neocon bill that went through Congress–stating that the U.S. should maintain 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.

      1. Donald Trump promised a lot of things, anything really as long as you believe it, sometimes even entirely contradictory things depending on the hour of the day. He delivered on approximately none of them. I wonder why people weren’t impressed with his “no really, just vote for me and THIS TIME I’ll do it!” shtick. I suppose he’s made half a century of a career out of people’s limited memories, why not keep trying?

        1. “Donald Trump promised a lot of things, anything really as long as you believe it, sometimes even entirely contradictory things depending on the hour of the day.”

          Donald Trump negotiated a full withdrawal agreement from Afghanistan with the Taliban back in February–that got us out of Afghanistan completely by the end of April.

          And when the U.S. backed government in Kabul dragged their feet on releasing the thousands of Taliban prisoners they were holding, Trump withheld their aid until they those POWs were released.

          The only reason you would make a statement like that on this topic is because you’re completely ignorant of the facts.

          1. The only reason you would make a statement like that on this topic is because you’re completely ignorant of the facts.

            Curious. For supposedly being “out of Afghanistan completely” we seem to be currently maintaining more troops (8600) there then when Trump assumed office (8400).

            1. He didn’t say we were out completely but on the path to be out completely by April, which your numbers prove because they are dramatically down from even 6 months ago. But hey, don’t argue what he actually stated but what you want to hear.

              1. Okay. Let me see if I understand this right. Here we have a sentence:
                “Donald Trump negotiated a full withdrawal agreement from Afghanistan with the Taliban back in February–that got us out of Afghanistan completely by the end of April.”

                The plain English reading of this sentence is that text after the dash is indicating that negotiation was to get us out of Afghanistan by the end of April. If something else is being implied by that statement I’d love to hear it, but I’d also recommend that if Nardz means something else he should probably try saying that something else instead of saying what he did, which is facts-optional nonsense.

                Also, giving Donald Trump anti-war credit for reducing troop levels from six months ago is like giving a fat woman weight loss credit for vomiting in a toilet after eating an entire birthday cake.

                1. April of 2021 not April of 2020. The context is clear. You argument is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest attempt at a gotcha.

                  1. Especially as Ken specifically stated (thus Nardz didn’t need to restate) in other posts that the April in question was specifically April of 2021 and that we are on the path to reaching that goal as long as Biden doesn’t reverse course.

                2. Am I somewhere in this thread prior to now?

                  Maybe instead of focusing on the butchery I’ve caused you by being bluntly honest, you take stock of what I’ve said – because it’s clearly stuck in some of you.
                  Truth hurts, but so does growth.

            2. “Curious. For supposedly being “out of Afghanistan completely” we seem to be currently maintaining more troops (8600) there then when Trump assumed office (8400).”

              You are completely ignorant, and it’s embarrassing to watch.

              President Trump negotiated a full withdrawal deal with the Taliban. It was signed on February 29th. The Taliban releases coalition prisoners, we withdraw so many troops, the Taliban opens negotiations on a peace agreement with the U.S. backed government in Kabul, we withdraw so many troops. The Taliban, so far has done exactly what they said. They released all the POWs they were holding, and they haven’t engaged American troops since the deal was signed. They have also opened up peace talks with the U.S. backed government in Kabul. Those talks are ongoing in Doha.

              According to the agreement, the U.S. is scheduled to withdraw all troops no later than the end of April, 2021. The party that has been reluctant to release the Taliban POWs and make peace with the Taliban has been the U.S. backed government in Kabul–who doesn’t want the U.S. to leave. When they dragged their feet on forming a negotiating team and releasing the thousands of Taliban POWs they were holding, Trump started withholding their aid.

              Here’s the right-wing Los Angeles Times:

              “Facing collapse of Afghan peace talks before they even start, the Trump administration has threatened to withhold up to $2 billion in aid unless President Ashraf Ghani and his main rival put aside their political differences and open negotiations with the Taliban.

              https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-03-24/us-afghanistan-taliban-peace-talks

              This demonstrates Trump’s clear commitment to getting the us out of Afghanistan completely and on schedule–while also holding the Taliban’s feet to the fire to keep their side of the agreement.

              The reason you said the things you said was because you didn’t know about any of this. And yet you spoke about that with so much confidence! I suspect you don’t know anything about the other things you’re talking about either. You’re just emoting without any regard for facts or logic. And everyone can tell.

              1. And since you didn’t know about a really big issue, you should really ask yourself why.

                Wherever you’re getting your news, they’re making you look ignorant. Even if you’re getting your news for free, you’re getting less than you paid for.

    3. With a $14 billion dollar budget request for fiscal year 2021, the U.S. military is set to spend its lowest amount on the 18-year long war in Afghanistan in nearly a decade.

      https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2020/02/10/us-military-budget-request-for-afghanistan-lowest-in-a-decade/

      Our military spend isn’t about Iraq/Afghanistan. It’s about China.

      1. There hasn’t been a single U.S. casualty in Afghanistan since Trump signed the peace deal with them at the end of February. That may have something to do with the Pentagon’s budget request for Afghanistan being as low as it was–especially considering that we were bugging out at the end of April.

        Surely not fighting the Taliban and not being in Afghanistan costs less than fighting the Taliban and being in Afghanistan.

        Not invading and occupying Syria is substantially less expensive than invading and occupying Syria, too.

        Now that Biden is president, we may never get out of Afghanistan. How long have we been in South Korea? At the very worst, to whatever extent we’re overspending on defense against China, that would be in addition to what we’d be spending in Afghanistan and Syria if Trump hadn’t been the president. And now that our presence in Afghanistan is an open question with Biden, we may well see the Pentagon request more funds for Afghanistan in the future.

      2. Concur Bubba Jones…It is about China. The same Communist China responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans by either intent or incompetence. That cannot go unanswered, and it cannot go unpunished.

        China has been conducting intensive military drilling for over a year to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan. Communist China is ready to make their move. Are we? Because it will not be enough to merely sell weapons to Taiwan and hope for the best. Communist China will have to be confronted in the South China Sea, and the Taiwan strait. China has to lose that battle, and therefore lose Taiwan forever. Losing Taiwan doesn’t ‘make up’ for killing hundreds of thousands of Americans with the Wuhan coronavirus, but it is a good fucking start.

        1. Exactly. You don’t end up fighting the wars you prepare for. You end up fighting the wars you don’t prepare for.

    4. That would be a nice start, but we could also, you know, lower the actual military budget. Cut it in half to start.

      1. Yes, we should spend extra to stay in unnecessary quagmires because in addition to all that spending on forever wars, the Pentagon’s budget needs to be cut even more in addition to that, too.

        Is that what I’m supposed to think?

        1. There is a need to reform Defense spending but unfortunately, to many proponents of Defense cuts focus on actual legitimate spending (our legacy fighters are being grounded as repair costs go up, air frames have a finite lifespan and combat and combat training reduces that lifespan). Instead of focusing on actual waste (which any soldier, sailor, Marine or Airman can point to plenty) they focus on big ticket but needed items. This is why there will never be a true cut in the military budget. We are able to maintain a smaller military than our geo-political likely foes because we equip and train our forces better than they do their forces. An all voluntary, technical and highly trained military is expensive. We could decide to train less and equip less, which reduces our combat ability. In order to offset that we would have to increase the size, which means most likely a draft. Or we could hope, as we did before 1941. But that history is replete with an under equipped undertrained force that took huge casualties whenever war actually occurred, and relied heavily on a draft and war of attrition until we could catch up.
          If history is any indication, you can’t avoid war, you can only prepare for it and hope it doesn’t happen. Yes Sweden and Switzerland. How did they avoid WW2, by basically becoming undeclared allies of Nazi Germany, and because Switzerland really didn’t have anything Nazi Germany needed.

  6. Defense spending as a jobs (votes) program? Unpossible!

  7. It never pays to have the nicest house on the block. It never pays to be the toughest kid on the block. You only need to be the second toughest and it has little to do with how big you are.

    We need a defense force. Israel, for example because of its size and ability has one respected everywhere. It is entirely based on defense of its people and territory. The key is qualitative edge, not quantity.

    The budget is a boondoggle going into the pockets of contractors and back into those of politicians.

    I have no confidence that Biden will do anything to cut it.

    1. I’d be happy just to get out of nation building. We are not very good at it and it just puts a target on our backs.

      1. We did decent job with Germany and Japan, but then again we almost completely destroyed their infrastructure and economy before we rebuilt them. And it helped that the Soviet Union gave them incentive to be cooperative in the process.

  8. you dummies just cheered on the election of a warmonger.

    1. The also condemned Trump–as if he were a warmonger–for approving the sale of arms to our allies in the Middle East, so they could defend themselves and we wouldn’t feel compelled to do so.

      Incidentally, this is also why they started coming together with Israel. As Trump made it clear that he wouldn’t bother defending them unless it was America’s best interests to do so, they started looking to Iran’s common enemies (see Israel) as potential allies instead of eternal enemies.

      It’s amazing that this is the same publication that condemned the neocon war on terror for so many years during the latter half of the Bush administration and all during the Obama administration. It’s like watching the Girl Scouts suddenly come out big against cookies.

      1. >>It’s amazing that this is the same publication

        all entities not specifically conservative will bend left in the end … or something to the effect

        1. Isn’t that just a tautology?

          1. ask National Review

      2. Foreign policy was hardly mentioned in the campaign. Except, of course, that Trump had the gall to ask our allies to carry more of the load, which “destroyed our standing in the world” according to the media.

        1. Foreign policy was conspicuously avoided, except vague statements about how the US isn’t respectable anymore.

  9. Essential jobs!

    1. High paying jobs.
      DOD and NASA spending is by in large spending on ‘custom made’ American products.
      That fuels lots of other American jobs.

      1. I suspect that IF “he who has been designated president-elect-by-the-media” actually does win, he will insist all future military components be bought from Communist China to atone for the sins of Trump.

  10. Curious to see what changes in The Era of Biden.

    1. They’re already telling us to our faces. Going back to the old ways of intervention, meddling, and continuous war.

      1. Fuck man, Trump almost started a nuclear war with North Korea, a conventional war with Iran and Venezuela and his weaponization of immigration cops might as well have been a war.

        1. And so far, all of those wars together have resulted in fewer deaths than a few mostly peaceful demonstrations in a couple of democratic cities.

        2. Almost started wars with countries we have been on the verge of war with for decades? That is fucking sad. My Dad was discharged in 1979, he was war gaming war with North Korea. I served from 1995-2005, we year games war with both Iran and North Korea, and the last few years Venezuela. Why? Because they have been potential enemies for decades. Fucking progressives are both scientifically and historically illiterate.

          1. Also, technically speaking we have never been not at war with North Korea since 1953. We have a truce but no peace treaty was ever signed.

  11. That’s not sitting well with Rep. Joe Courtney (D–Conn.), whose district notably includes the submarine base in New London, Connecticut.

    In fairness it’s also the home of Electric Boat, which builds the subs (as well as coordinating and running aftermarket) so a lot more of the economy is involved than just the naval base.

    1. But those evil subs are powered by the deadly nuclear energy, and will have to be retrofitted with sails to placate the squad.

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  12. America is drowning in pandemic debt, and Biden plans to spend trillions of dollars over the next two years to eliminate all natural gas from power generation in this country. This despite the fact that green house gas emissions continue to fall without any help from trillions of dollars in spending–because of market driven forces making natural gas displace coal.

    “U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions decreased in 2019 by 2.8%, or 150 million metric tons (MMmt) when compared with 2018. Changes in the electricity fuel mix were the most important factors, with coal-related CO2 emissions declining by 184 million metric tons (15%).

    —-EIA September 30, 2020

    https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon/

    If only there had been a candidate who opposed the Green New Deal!

    1. Ken…I know, unreal right? Boehm worries about 10B for the military while completely missing the 10T for this Green New Deal bullshit. Only the run-off elections in GA stand in the way of a unified Team D congress passing yet another shitty piece of expensive legislation (PPACA was the last one, a legislative abomination).

  13. There are a couple of things we can do to reduce the military budget.

    Reduce our military presence in the world.
    Require NATO members to pay more.
    Leave NATO.

    None of these are ok in the liberal mindset. What have they offered as a solution?

    When Trump was pulling troops out of Syria a very liberal friend of mine actually said it was bad because then ISL would come here. I laughed saying Trump turned him into Rumsfield.

    1. “Reduce our military presence in the world.
      Require NATO members to pay more.
      Leave NATO.”

      Exactly what Russia wants us to do.

      A good dose of nationalism is great when your local economy is shit… right Putin?

      1. I just listed some options you can do to reduce the military budget.

        If you want to reduce the military budget, what would you do?

        1. Leave NATO. Combined, the EU has 10X the military budget that Russia has.

          1. But but our friends…

            1. The EU can still be our friends, if they want.

              1. Yeah. But any talk of ending involvement or decreasing will obviously result fully in the US fully alienated from Europe, the media has said so for 4 years and they are always right.

      2. If the EU can’t defend from Russia properly, then they should do something about it.

    1. SIV can, however, find the cloaca on any creature.

      1. Everybody can find your mom’s cloaca

  14. Defense is constitutionally authorized although I agree we spend too much on foreign involvement.
    Dept of Education that educates no one should go
    Dept of Energy that produces no energy should go
    Dept of Commerce as if commerce won’t happen without them
    and those are just barely a start.

    1. One day of my internment in the camp I have to provide, I printed out the current list of cabinet level officers, and took a copy of the US Constitution to check the ones legitimately specified.
      it was just at one third.

      And oh by the way, the debt we are drowning in was not voted in place by the Communist Chinese Virus, but rather by our elected representatives. So place the blame directly with us, and (briefly) celebrate the number of incumbents turned out in the current election.

      1. A virus can have political affiliation now?

        I checked the code for COVID 19

        Several time times the sequence repeats to CCC which codes for Proline.

        So CCC-P

        Chinese Communist Committee Party.

        I see where that goes.

  15. The one part of the federal budget that’s a core function of the federal government is now a rounding error.

    Nice.

  16. The overall order for F-35 is for thousands of planes across the various service branches (allied countries are buying another thousand or so as well). The reason for so many planes is that F-35 is supposed to be replacing upwards of a dozen current models (most of which were designed in the 1960s and 1970s, and many of which were built in the 70s and 80s). There’s a reasonable debate whether or not this was a good idea since a “do everything” airplane (actually 3 different airplanes) isn’t going to be as good as a “specialist” at any one particular thing, but since the factories that built the older planes have been shut down, sold off and re-tooled for other purposes (many of the workers from those lines retired years/decades ago) and in many cases the companies that did the building no longer exist after the areospace/defense consolidation of the 1990s. As expensive as the F-35 is, designing separate replacement planes for all those different airframes would be far more expensive overall and take a lot longer to accomplish.

    The difference between buying a few more or less this year is a scheduling issue in the bigger picture, not a spending issue.

    1. I know that for automobiles, over the past few decades, electronics have been taking up a bigger and bigger portion of the total amount of cost that goes into building a car, and materials like steel. plastic, glass etc are shrinking. Is the same true for fighter aircraft?

      1. To a degree. Advanced steels, ceramics, titanium alloys and stealth coatings/paints aren’t cheap either.

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  18. “America Is Drowning in Pandemic Debt”

    If anyone at Reason was/is actually concerned about the huge expansion in federal debt due to covid, they would have revealed (and still can) that the US covid death toll has increased more than 8 times that of Sweden’s since July 15 (309 per million compared to 38 per million).

    From March to June, so-called public health experts, left wing media and lockdown loving Democrats continuously demonized Sweden for not shut down schools or businesses. Sweden also hasn’t imposed any mask wearing mandate.

    1. for updated data on covid cases, deaths and tests in different countries, go to

      https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-data-explorer?zoomToSelection=true&time=2020-03-01..latest&country=USA~SWE~FRA~AUT~POL~CZE~ITA~PRT~BEL~NLD~GBR~ESP&region=World&deathsMetric=true&interval=smoothed&perCapita=true&smoothing=7&pickerMetric=population&pickerSort=desc

  19. If we can’t trim the Pentagon’s budget this year, will we ever?

    No, of course not don’t be silly.

    It is especially now ridiculous to talk about cutting the military budget when we are going to be needing so much more once Biden gets us caught up on the backlog of wars we didn’t get into that we need to get into just because that bastard Trump kept us out of them. Think of all the bombs and bullets we could have been, and should have been, using but, more importantly, think of all the government contracts we could have had to build new roads and schools and hospitals and other critical infrastructure after we got done bombing the shit out of the old roads and schools and hospitals and other critical infrastructure! I mean, do you realize how many generals at the Pentagon have had to retire not knowing where their megabucks consultancy jobs were going to come from or if they were going to be there at all? How the hell are the war profiteers supposed to make a profit if we don’t have wars?

    1. War Pigs need stimulus too.

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  21. Since the covid case rate has exceeded 5% in four states (ND – 7.4%, SD – 6.5%, WI – 5.2%, IA – 5.0%), since several studies (including one by the CDC) estimated the actual infection rate was/is ten times greater than the known case rate, and since herd immunity typically occurs when 70% of the population is infected, some counties and states appear to be getting very close to achieving herd immunity.

    But instead of writing any stories exposing these and other facts about Covid, Reason continues to focus on getting rid of Trump.

  22. The Reason we are having to purchase the over priced and unreliable F-35 is because of Obama. The F-22 was cancelled under Obama just as the price of production was set to decrease. He wanted a cheaper alternative, which the F-35 was supposed to be (cheaper yet less capable). However, then they began expanding the role of the F-35, trying to replace every 1970’s era fighter and attack aircraft (90+% of our aircraft were first designed and flown the 1970s or earlier). The more roles, the longer to develop, the higher the cost. Now it would cost to much to restart the F-22 production, but the F-35 is more expensive than the f-22 and less reliable.
    Also, it should be mentioned that we maintain the strongest Air Force so we are assured Air superiority, this reduces US casualties. We could shrink the Air Force and our technological edge, this of course would mean more US casualties and probably require a larger ground force, which would probably require conscription to meet recruitment goals. I may sure Boehm isn’t actually suggesting that, is he?

    1. The B-52 will fly forever.

      1. The Buff is an amazing bird and will fly forever because, like the A-10, it’s mission isn’t sexy to the Air Force doesn’t want to waste money researching a replacement. The USAF hates CAS and isn’t a fan of Heavy, non stealth bombers. And at the same time the throw a fit whenever the Army mentions developing its own fixed wing CAS aircraft. Hell, they’re stilled miffed that the Army armed rotary wing aircraft, even though the Air Force had no plans to do so at the time.

        1. Congress was wrong to make the air force a separate branch. The Army Hair Corp was already much more like the usmc, a separate branch but under the nominal control of the Army.
          An example of why this worked was the P-47. By 1943 the Army Air Corp had decided to replace the P-47 with the P-51 as ja front line fighter, however, the Army saw the value of the P-47 in CAS and continued to develop and field new P-47s. This helped dramatically in Western Europe and Southern Europe. It reduced US casualties on the ground and shortened the European War. It also made the US Army the undisputed master of combined arms tactics. Following 1947, the USAF abandoned CAS, and during Korea had to rely on WW2 piston fighters to fill this role. During Vietnam the best CAS aircraft were actually USN aircraft, as the relationship between the Navy and the USMC had required Naval Aviation to continue to develop and improve CAS. The A-1 and A-4, while 1950s designs both exceeded anything the USAF could field in regards to CAS.
          The lack of adequate CAS support from the USAF forced the US Army to arm observation craft, contrary to regulations, and develop the AH-1, which the USAF threw a fit about. The F-4 and F-105 and F-100 could provide bombing and even strafing (while for the latter two anyhow, as the original F-4s lacked cannons) but they couldn’t loiter. This drastically reduced their effectiveness in CAS roles.

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  24. If Manchin sticks to his guns, he may be the unsung hero in stopping the progressives. I still would not be surprised if he switches parties in the next two years, despite his protesting he won’t.

  25. “though it should be noted that the Pentagon only asked for 79 new planes.”

    What the Pentagon requests and actually wants are only tangentially related, they often low-ball or cancel stuff in budget requests, they don’t want to lowball or cancel, but what they know congress won’t lowball or cancel for various political reasons, and then use those funds to get something else that way they can have their cake and eat it too.

    1. This. They submit one thing on paper but tell friendly Congressman what they really need or want. There is plenty of waste in the Pentagon, focusing on actual needed equipment makes any argument for reducing waste and the budget moot.

  26. Let’s bring the troops home for Christmas from Afghanistan.

    White House Petition:
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/end-war-afghanistan-and-bring-troops-home-christmas

  27. One of the things the “we don’t need a large military” crowd gets wrong is not understanding having a large capable military actually decreases the chance of a major war. Japan calculated that the US military was weak, and the US had no desire to fight a war, thus a quick strike would take us out of the war early. Our nuclear arsenal and conventional forces, convinced the Soviet Union that any invasion of Europe would be too costly. Despite Vietnam being a no win scenario, it convinced Soviet military planners that the US wouldn’t give up easily. However, the US withdrawal/draw down from Somalia and Saudi Arabia convinced bin Laden that the US was a paper tiger and thus could be attacked with impunity. During the late 18th and early 19th century, the lack of a strong military convinced Britain and the Barbary Coast kingdoms (and France and Spain to lesser extents) that they could hinder US shipping and extort resources. As a result we fought an undeclared Naval war with France in the 1790s, two undeclared wars with the Barbary Coast states in the 1800s and 1820s and a declared war with Britain. If you want to avoid war, you prepare for war. If you want to fight a war, appear to be unprepared for one. The historical evidence is clear.

    1. Libertarians lack understanding of basic human psychology. Hell, basic animal psychology. I don’t know if it’s the type of people drawn to libertarianism, or if the ideology itself fosters the deficiency.
      Deterrence is a thing.
      Indeed, conflict is vastly more often avoided than engaged precisely because the potential participants don’t want to risk/incur loss/damage.
      The more potential one has to influct damage, the more hesitant others are to engage in hostilities with it.
      Think about it on a personal level. An ant crawls on your arm, so you smash it without much thought. But a scorpion crawls on your arm, you swipe it away.
      This explains something about our political culture too. Because the left has so much control over our institutions, they suffer few/no consequences. Because they are protected from consequences, they’re more willing to engage in hostilities, to transgress. Same goes for government officials/deep state and journalists.
      Power is not evil, it is physical law.

  28. Somebody tell Reason who runs this fucking country.

    The CEOs of Raytheon, et al, has a lot more to say about what goes on than millions of worthless ballots cast by the proletariat.

    You think the Kochs would know this since they use crony-capitalism (while bullshitting about libertarianism) all the time to push through legislation they want for the benefit.

  29. If you want to cut defense spending meaningfully focus on giving the military more control of research and development (this has long been a way of backdooring earmarks, spending billions on research programs the military doesn’t want while starving needed research and development) use it or lose it regulations that promote waste and punish thriftiness, unnecessary and costly EO training that waste time and training budgets, regulations that hinder buying direct but require to buy through unnecessary middleman agencies, re-rvaluatr and refocus on allies willing to foot the bill and end politically driven weapon programs that fail (Obama and the Littoral Combat Ships and F-35 over the F-22 are perfect examples).

  30. It’s Veterans’ Day. Will Reason.com ever address the rampant militarism among the VOTERS????

  31. You do know life is tough, even tougher if you’re stupid……and we have had enough stupid from the antics of the left and the fact that China performed a horrendous act of terrorism to gain profit, to get a foot up tech wise and to expand their military, hoping that we will sit on our hands, make our lives miserable and destroy our own economy…..If you want to live in a 3rd world country, be my guest but it’s not going to be here in the USA……

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