Pentagon's New Math Adding Up
The end of the Cold War military has been long in coming, but large, expensive platforms are beginning to be perceived as having less value in situations like Iraq than well-equipped, well-trained soldiers. Reuters reports on a recent decision that moves away from expensive equipment and towards better troop strength:
The White House plans to shift $3.2 billion in defense spending -- partly from new weapons like the Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter -- to support troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, a trade publication reported on Monday.
In a letter to Congress detailing revised plans for its fiscal 2007 emergency wartime spending request, the White House said it would reduce spending on three aircraft programs by $923 million, freeing up money for armor kits and transport vehicles needed by U.S. troops.
The letter was obtained and released by insidedefense.com on Monday. ...
It said it would remove $388 million for five Lockheed C-130J transport planes; $146 million for one CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft built by Boeing Co. and Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc.; and $389 million for Lockheed F-35s.
Instead, it would spend an additional $1.5 billion on armor kits and transport vehicles, including $500 million for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, the newest generation of tactical vehicles designed to protect troops against mines and roadside bombs.
It's a simple, immediate decision: More armor is needed because of what's happening in Iraq and the money has to come from somewhere.
But in the process, the military is being transformed a bit. Full transformation will take greater commitment from above, but moves like this get the momentum going.