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Defense Internals – $ing = Cuts – AT: GOP Blocks

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Defense Internals – $ing = Cuts – AT: GOP Blocks

GOP won’t raise taxes—would rather cut defense
Wasson & Bennett 6/30 (Erik & John, staff, The Hill,, accessed 6-30-11, CH)

Defense cuts proposed by the White House are unlikely to keep a debt-ceiling deal from passing Congress, sources say. As few as 30 House Republicans would likely consider voting against a debt-ceiling deal that cuts $300 billion from security spending, according to a GOP aide. The relatively small bloc of opposition to the level of defense cuts floated by the White House suggests the GOP’s traditional opposition to reducing military spending has taken a backseat to warding off tax increases. “Robust defense spending and lower taxes have been two hallmarks of the Republican Party for years,” one former GOP House staffer said. “And those two things are going to be in direct competition with one another” in the debt talks. Given a choice between lopping funding for the military and increasing taxes — two options for reducing the deficit long seen as anathema to the party — most House Republicans seem ready to pull the lever against the Pentagon, if the cuts are in the White House range.

Republicans opinion has shifted—will sacrifice defense budget if necessary

Montgomery & Kane 6/26 (Lori& Paul, reporters, Washington Post,, accessed 6-30-11, CH)

In listening sessions with their rank and file, House Republican leaders said they have found a surprising willingness to consider defense cuts that would have been unthinkable five years ago, when they last controlled the House. While the sessions have sparked heated debate on many issues, Rep. Peter Roskam (Ill.), the deputy GOP whip, said there are few lawmakers left who view the Pentagon budget as sacrosanct. “When we say everything is on the table, that’s what we mean,” said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the No. 3 leader who has been hosting the listening sessions in his Capitol offices.

Defense Internals – F-35s

F-35s are being eyed for cuts
WITN 9 (News Site, 3/13/9, JPG

Hungry budget cutters are eyeing some tasty targets at the Pentagon. Specifically: two of the largest weapons contracts ever awarded by the Pentagon. The Joint Strike Fighter program is building 2,500 high-tech warplanes and could cost more than $1 trillion. The program would build F-35s, which are the same jets the Navy is considering placing at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock. The Navy has said it could put as many as eleven F-35 squadrons at Cherry Point, while other squadrons would go to the base in Beaufort, S.C. New squadrons of fighter jets would bring a significant economic impact to any military base and surrounding town. The Government Accountability Office, in a report Thursday, says costs for the Joint Strike Fighter Program and the Army's Future Combat Systems are likely to balloon because the technology is not fully proven. The Army's vision of high-tech, interconnected battlefield equipment has a $158-billion pricetag. The military is under pressure to cut costs as the government devotes trillions of dollars toward righting the economy. The Obama administration has promised a rigorous review of weapons programs with a view toward making sure their technology is proven before they go into production.

F-35s are at the top of the chopping block
Goozner 2/10 (Merrill, independent author, former journalism prof @ NYU, JPG

Critics ranging from the president’s bipartisan fiscal commission to former military officers to a coalition of liberal and conservative groups backing steep Defense Department cuts have put the F-35 at the top of their list of Pentagon programs that could be scaled back or eliminated without damaging national security. The Fiscal Commission, for instance, called for cutting the program in half. Their report suggested the fighter fleet could remain at its current size by extending production of modernized F-16, F-18 and A-10 jets, which would save $9.5 billion over the next five years. “The unit cost of F-35 aircraft is estimated at about $133 million compared to $40 million for an F-16 and $80 million for an F-18,” the fiscal commission report said. “The U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy, the military’s current fourth-generation fighters – the F-15, the F-16, and the F-18 – are superior to Chinese and Russian aircraft, and they are less expensive than the F-35,” noted Gordon Adams and Matthew Leatherman in an article in the latest Foreign Affairs.
F-35s are low-hanging fruit – Pentagon’s giant wishlist forces trade-offs
Newsweek 10 (11/13/10, JPG

As Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Ga., plant prepares to begin building the 187th—and last—F-22 super-fighter, the military is already dreaming of its successor. In a query to the aerospace industry earlier this month, the Air Force laid out its wish list, and it wants everything: a plane that can win dogfights, demolish air-defense missile networks, support ground troops, and run surveillance missions; a partial prototype would be ready by 2020, with entry into service by 2030. This may be wishful thinking, given the saga of the current wondercraft, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. With a development and production price tag of more than $380 billion, the F-35 is the costliest acquisition program in Pentagon history. Different versions are being developed for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines. But the plane is bedeviled by technical problems, ever-rising costs, and slipping schedules, with the Marines’ incarnation presenting the toughest challenges. Last week the co-chairmen of President Obama’s deficit-reduction commission proposed gutting the program. On Nov. 22, a Pentagon review board is scheduled to take a hard look at it.

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