Deficits mean all agencies will face cuts, but degree uncertain for NASA and DoD Altman 11 (George, staff, Washington Bureau, 3/6, http://blog.al.com/huntsville-times-business/2011/03/post_35.html, accessed 7-1-11, CH)
WASHINGTON - Faced with a more than $1-trillion budget gap, a new, frugal Congress is contemplating cuts that were once inconceivable. Officials have proposed slashing federal assistance for home heating oil as energy prices rise, reducing Pell Grant money that helps send students to college, even overhauling Social Security, long known as the untouchable "third rail" of American politics. If the federal government can't pay as much to fuel poor Americans' furnaces, can it afford to fuel rockets to Mars? Cutting-edge military research at Redstone Arsenal? The Huntsville economy? The answer, as many of Alabama's elected officials see it, is yes. Everyone's budgets will be cut to some degree, space and defense included, they say. But the high-tech, high-flying federal programs that Huntsville has built a reputation around are essential to vital U.S. interests. Washington not only can, but must, pay for such endeavors if America is to maintain its status as the premier global superpower, they say. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, said he thinks that Washington's power brokers recognize Huntsville as a "technological jewel." "They understand how important what we've done is to our war-fighting capability, and with respect to NASA, our technological achievements. By and large, there's great admiration," Brooks said, during an interview in his congressional office. But analysts from Washington-area think tanks say the view of Huntsville from Capitol Hill, and the fate of its federal programs, may not be so clear. "They're going to cut some," John Pike, founder of the national security analysis website GlobalSecurity.org, said regarding coming defense budgets. "It's just a question of whether they are going to be cosmetic cuts, or whether they're going to take the meat cleaver." Pike said he has "no idea" what Congress may have in store for NASA's funding.
Specifically, F-35s are going to be cut
Capaccio and Gienger 6/29 (Tony and Viola, writers @ Bloomberg, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-29/lockheed-s-f-35-strike-fighter-may-face-cuts-in-budget-review-gates-says.html) JPG
Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)’s F-35 fighter program might be cut back as part of the Pentagon’s new budget review, even as there is a strong need for the program, departing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today. “The issue will be less ‘whether’ we go forward with the plane than how many we ultimately buy,” Gates said during an interview with Bloomberg News on his last full day at the Pentagon. Asked if the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program was endangered because of deficit reduction pressures, Gates said, “potentially, one of the issues could be the size of the buy.” “Obviously, if you reduce that, the price per airplane is going to go up. People have to bear that in mind. But, there is no question in my mind we have to have the airplane if we are looking out 10, 20, 30 years,” he said. The Pentagon currently plans to spend $382 billion to buy 2,457 of the stealth jets in different versions for the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The F-35 will be assessed as part of the Pentagon review of how to reach President Barack Obama’s goal to reduce military spending by $400 billion through 2023. Gates in the interview said the review was his idea.
However, Singer noted that the programs and operations in line for cuts are more in the area of procurement – such as the elimination of a second engine for the F-35 second engine, endorsed by the Pentagon – and spending on the warsin Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya. Small anti-terror units such as the SEALS, which mounted the invasion of a compound in suburban Islamabad that took out bin Laden, are in a better budgetary position despite a report earlier this year that they would be targeted for cuts. Even before the bin Laden mission, commanders had expressed a desire to add several squadrons to Delta Force and the SEALS. “The programs being talked about for cuts tend to be the larger sized programs like major plane and ship programs,” Singer said. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., while continuing to insist that defense spending has to decrease, noted that the budget for Special Forces like the SEALS was going up even before the successful bin Laden. "They have already seen very significant increases," he said.
But the idea of cutting the military's budget at a time when the nation is fighting two wars — and faces an estimated $300 billion in health treatment costs alone over the next five years as a result — is being greeted with scorn and even disbelief in some quarters. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon of California, the incoming Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, argued at a Washington forum on Monday that defense spending needs to go up, not down."A defense budget in decline portends an America in decline," McKeon said at the forum, sponsored by Foreign Policy Initiative, a conservative think tank. "It will undermine our ability to project power, strengthen our adversaries and weaken our alliances." McKeon cited the work of yet another top-level panel, created by Congress, which last summer concluded that the nation's military needs to spend more on equipment, expand the Navy and modernize its weaponry. "Let me put this in the simplest terms possible: Cutting defense spending amidst two wars is a red line for me and should be a red line for all Americans," McKeon said.