Two pseudo-conservative groups’ presidents, Ryan Alexander of “Taxpayers for Common Sense” and Thomas Schatz of Citizens Against Government Waste, lied to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on February 5th.
In an attempt to fool the Congress into agreeing to deep, harmful defense cuts – whacking at the military’s muscle, not fat – they lied to the Congress by calling a host of crucial, desperately needed defense programs “waste.” This has recently become the Left’s favorite tactic in its campaign to gut America’s defense.
Instead of overtly saying “let’s disarm ourselves unilaterally and then everyone else will be nice enough to do so” or “let’s disarm ourselves; we don’t need a strong military”, most leftists – other than the most strident liberals in Congress – have shifted to labelling every defense program they oppose (i.e. the vast majority of defense programs) as “waste.”
This is supposed to justify deep, crippling defense cuts and to fool fiscal conservatives into agreeing to such disastrous cuts.
We conservatives must not be fooled by this. The vast majority of what the Left, including TCS, calls “waste”, are actually needed, well-justified defense programs – not just weapons, but also the facilities that support them and the troops.
Specifically, TCS lied to the Congress that the planned CMRR (chemical metallurgy research) facility (intended to produce plutonium pits, crucial components of nuclear warheads) and other planned nuclear facilities are “wasteful”, and that the programs targeted by TCS and POGO (which is funded by George Soros) are also “wasteful” and deserving termination (these proposals included the cancellation of the badly-needed nuclear facilities listed above). They furthermore lied that their proposals would save $800 bn (which they would not).
The reason why their claims are blatant lies is simple – because the vast majority of the defense programs they’ve targeted are not “waste”, but crucial, NEEDED, and well-justified programs. Specifically:
1) The CMRR facility is absolutely necessary to produce plutonium pits – crucial components of nuclear warheads – in sufficient quantities for America’s geriatric nuclear stockpile, which is long overdue for such modernization. The facility currently responsible for the production – the Los Alamos National Laboratory – is dilapidated beyond economic repair and in dire need of replacement, and its plutonium pit production capacity is woefully inadequate to sustain even a reduced nuclear arsenal of 1,000-1,550 warheads, let alone anything larger.
Likewise, the Uranium Production Facility is needed to produce highly-enriched uranium for America’s uranium-based nuclear warheads, at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. These two facilities are NOT anyone’s pork projects – they are urgently needed national security priorities. They were both promised by President Obama during the Senate debate on New START ratification, and the requirement that these facilities be built was included in the Senate Resolution of Ratification of New START (and is thus the law of the land). The requirement for the CMRR facility was recently reaffirmed by the entire Congress in the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed both houses of Congress by overwhelming margins. Thus, the requirement for these facilities is the law of the land.
2) The Next Generation Bomber/Long Range Strike Bomber is an urgently needed replacement for the USAF’s B-1 and B-52 bombers, both of which have huge radar signatures and, as a result, cannot survive in anything other than benign combat environments where the only opponents are insurgents or primitive countries unable to contest airspace control. They cannot survive in any situation where the enemy has advanced (or even upgraded Soviet) air defense systems, such as the S-300, S-400, S-500, or even the SA-5 and SA-6. Any airspace defended by such systems, including that of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela, is firmly closed to them.
Yet, the USAF has to be able to strike deeply into these countries, from over the horizon to be credible in any contingency involving them, or in nuclear deterrence scenarios. Today, its only bombers capable of that are its 20 B-2s. Such a number is woefully insufficient, due to the sheer number of targets among other things.
The requirement for an NGB has been validated by two successive Quadrennial Defense Reviews, successive Defense and Air Force Secretaries, Chiefs of Staff, other USAF generals (e.g. David Deptula and former CSAF Gen. John M. Loh), and numerous think-tanks and analysts, including the CSBA, the Heritage Foundation, and Dr Rebecca Grant. The USAF says the new bomber is an absolute requirement, that deferring or cancelling it would be “very high-risk”, and that it’s a crucial part of their mission (CSAF Gen. Mark Welsh). Indeed, the bomber is the central part of the AirSea Battle plan to defeat anti-access/area denial threats. Without the bomber, the whole plan collapses and the US won’t be able to counter such threats.
3) Kill the V-22 Osprey, which has proven itself in THREE different war theaters (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya), saving countless lives, delivering troops and supplies into and out of combat zones and accumulating over 150,000 flight hours. Marine pilots love it; the USMC Commandant praises and supports it; and it is twice cheaper to buy and operate than its proposed replacement, the CH-53. It can fly twice farther and twice faster than any helicopter. It’s needed to replace the C-2 COD aircraft, the USAF’s CSAR helos, and the presidential helo. Yet, TCS and POGO anti-defense hacks want to kill it.
4) Permanently cut the Navy’s carrier fleet to 10 vessels (by retiring the USS George Washington in 2016 26 years early) and eliminate an entire carrier group – not just the flattop itself. This would significantly weaken the Navy and undermine its power projection capability by reducing the number of platforms serving this purpose. Only a carrier or a long-range bomber can deliver strikes against enemy targets wherever and whenever needed without host country basing. With just 10 flattops, the Navy would have no more than 5-6 available for duty globally; this means either 2 for the Persian Gulf and only 3-4 or the Pacific, or just one in the Gulf and 4-5 in the Pacific.
5) Cut the Navy’s current and planned SSBN fleet to just 8 boats, which means only 4-5 would be at sea at any given time, i.e. America’s enemies would have to sink only 4-5 of them, while the rest would be in port, being easy targets. This would gut the naval leg of the nuclear triad.
6) Eliminate the DOE’s reserve stock of highly-enriched uranium for nuclear warheads. (See above.)
7) Cancel the F-35B Marine Corps variant (along with the Navy’s C variant), leaving the Marine Corps with no attack jets to fly from the Navy’s small carriers (amphibious assault ships) when its Harriers retire. As USMC Commandant Gen. Amos has said, this would cut the Marine’s combat aviation power by 50%!
8) Closing the Army’s tank production line in Lima, OH… when the Army’s Abrams tanks need refurbishment and upgrade, and when the Army plans to reopen the line in 2017 to produce Ground Combat Vehicles.
9) Withdrawing the remainder of US troops from Europe and laying them off (i.e. more jobless, homeless veterans), thus cutting the force structure further and significantly undercutting the military’s power projection capability, because units based in-theater, closed to the combat zone or area of action, are much CHEAPER to deploy and operate, and can react much faster and more effectively, than units based in the CONUS. (Similarly, one warship based in-theater, e.g. in Europe or Japan, is worth four warships based in the CONUS.) The principal reason why is precisely because they’re based in-theater – they don’t have to waste money and time flying in from the CONUS and then returning to the CONUS.
10) “Freeze” funding for the Ground-Based Midcourse Missile Defense system protecting the US from ballistic missile attack and not build any more such interceptors or siloes for them – whether in the US or anywhere else. This would leave the US totally unprotected from any ICBMs Iran fields in the future (it is projected to field them by 2015-2016).
These are just the most damaging, most crippling of the defense cuts that POGO and TCS have proposed. Implementing them would gut the military and make it unable to counter anti-access/area-denial threats – the most pervasive and ubiquitous threats the US faces today – because TCS and POGO have targeted the very weapons and capabilities needed to counter these threats.
Meanwhile, CAGW’s Thomas Schatz, while also lying that “the Pentagon is rife with waste, fraud, and abuse”, specifically targeted the Medium Extended Area Defense System (MEADS) for killing (the DOD has agreed but wants to complete the R&D phase so as not to leave taxpayers with no return on their investment).
While MEADS’s opponents falsely claim that MEADS would be ineffective and unneeded, it IS very much needed and has passed its tests. It is needed to replace the woefully obsolete PATRIOT system, whose radar can look only at 90 degrees, not all around itself (360 degrees) and has been less than spectacularly effective. Moreover, despite Schatz’s lies that MEADS program partners Italy and Germany wouldn’t mind if the US quit the program, the truth is exactly the opposite: their governments just recently sent the US government a letter warning the US not to withdraw from the MEADS program.
In other words, the claims of TCS and CAGW and their presidents about defense spending are blatant lies. By lying to the Congress, they have committed a serious offense, and they should be prosecuted and severely punished for it.