A Smaller and Smarter Defense
Here is a pre-2010 budget article from last month, we thought interesting enough to summarize key points closely aligning with New Wars’ idea of Military Reform. From the American Conservative and opening with a direct quote we applaud, here is Commander Jeff Huber, USN retired with Sticker Shock and Awe:
“The time-honored adage says that generals always plan for the last war. American generals, taking things a step further, always plan for the last World War.”
- Though American defense spending is low in percentages (roughly 4% of the GDP), it is high in dollar value, at more than half total world spending.
- The ‘new manned bomber’ should be an unmanned aerial vehicle (apparently Sec. Gates agrees since the manned bomber was put off in the new budget).
- The planned purchase of 2,458 F-35 joint strike fighters is insupportable and unneeded (Sec. Gates DOES NOT agree in the new budget).
- The same missile, radar identification and communication gear in the $338 million F-22 Raptor can be embedded in the $20 million F-16 (Raptor production is shut down in the 2010 budget).
- Ballistic Missile Defense is a dead end, particularly the SM-3 missile which can be easily foiled by countermeasures ($700 million is added in the budget for missile defense).
- The $8.1 billion Ford class carrier costs much more than the older Nimitz class with little increase in capability. Updated Nimitz’s would be more than adequate (new carriers will be built in 5 yr cycles).
- Aircraft carriers are only needed to deter China, with 3-4 in service sufficient, or no more than 7 total in commission (10 are planned for the foreseeable future).
- “The ‘Triple H’ airwing–Hornets, Hawkeyes, and Helicopters–will be sufficiently capable as long as we have carriers”. (Carriers will also get the newer F-35C in the new budget)
- Unmanned Combat Air Systems (UCAS) are not needed on carrier decks, since they possess sufficient range for land bases. The USAF should also consider such platforms for their long-range strike plans.
- Carriers need an upgraded point defense system to defend against short range threats such as suicide boats, but also the ominous and supersonic SSN-22 Sunburn anti-ship missile.
A good read though I disagree with the attitude that if we ignore Islamic Terrorism in the Third World, it will go away. For my own views on the 2010 budget, here are the links: