The administration is also pushing to trim the number of Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Interceptors from 43 to 30. That makes no sense, especially with North Korea aggressively testing long-range missiles. Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warns that Pyongyang may be able to hit the continental United States with a missile within three years. We need to counter that threat with more defense, not less.
The missile-defense cuts are part of a pattern of overall defense retrenchments. Obama has called for the core defense budget to increase by an average of around $10 billion each year through 2014.
That may sound like a lot of money, but in fact it represents no real growth, even as spending on other programs will soar. Obama expects the core defense budget to amount to less than 3.3 percent of GDP in 2014, a sharp reduction from today’s 4 percent.
Meanwhile, this year’s “stimulus” package alone doubled the Department of Education’s budget in one swift stroke. Soon, to rephrase a bumper sticker that was popular in the 1970s, the Air Force (rather than the PTA) really may need to hold a bake sale. It could use the proceeds to purchase new fighter aircraft.
Take the F-22A Raptor: The Obama administration wants to cap production at just 187 planes and shut down the lines that make the planes. This would be a mistake. We need more F-22As to meet current defense requirements.
The United States is unique in history. Our Navy dominates the seas as no other nation has ever dreamed. We use that force to protect international commerce, punish pirates and provide disaster relief. Our Army and Marine Corps boast the best trained, most disciplined, best-equipped ground force ever deployed. Yet instead of capturing land, we prefer to defeat terrorists and set up democratic governments. For more than a generation, our Air Force has dominated every sky it entered.
Maintaining these advantages requires financial investment. The administration’s long-term plans would fall short. It’s time to fix them.