The big news out of Secretary Gates’ proposed DoD budget was the announcement that F-22 production was going to be shut down. (The Washington Post story is here , the New York Times here, and the Wall Street Journal story here.)
As recently as December, the Times ran a story reporting that the Air Force wanted 60 more F-22s, and though the cost of the additional planes was estimated at $9 billion, in the era of trillion dollar deficits, that seems hardly the sort of expenditure that would cause a blink of an eye, especially given the number of jobs that will be lost if the plane’s production lines are shuttered.
Against the backdrop of wild spending and massive deficits, the Pentagon cuts are startling. The first mission of the federal government is the nation’s defense, and the president’s budget spends billions on unnecessary and wasted spending while taking the knife to the country’s weapons’ systems.
President Obama’s visit to Iraq is a welcome symbol of his commitment to preserving the hard-won peace there, but the military he is meeting with needs the weapons of the next generation to remain capable of winning on the battlefields where it fights. Americans are right to worry that a hollowing-out of the military has begun.