"You don't want to hear this, but the defense budget, which has risen about $100 billion in the last two years, needs to go up," writes Gregg Easterbrook, the New Republic editor.
There hasn't been a major new aircraft or helicopter acquisition program in a decade. The "futuristic" F-117 stealth fighter is 15 years old; the design of the Army's M-1 Abrams main tank is 20 years old; the B-52 bombers that did yeoman work in the Iraq war are 40 years old; Air Force fighters average almost two decades in age; the primary United States tanker plane is 45 years old; it goes on.Reagan spent so much on defense that inventory buildup from the 1980s allowed the 1990s to be a "procurement holiday" in which Bill Clinton oversaw almost no new major weapons-system construction... Now the procurement holiday is coming to an end--major new aircraft, ship and infantry weapons are needed, if the United States military edge is to remain assured.Easterbrook, like Slate's Fred Kaplan, says the long-delayed F-22 stealth fighter should be cut. But, in contrast to Kapaln, Easterbrook fancies the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as a replacement.(via CalPundit)THERE'S MORE: "Don't let the outside fool you, the current M1A2 tank is a totally different beast internally then the M1 of 1986 and quite the backbreaker in competent hands," Defense Tech pal JA writes."The first question should be: How does the M1A2 fall short against potential foes and what do we need to defeat said foes? Buying and building 'new & improved' (armored vehicles) without a clear benchmark to measure against... dumps us right back into the acquisition hell of the late 60s and early 70s, where we had no clear definition of 'better' in terms of needed capabilities."