USAF Big: "Kill" Bloated Programs

Speaking of Pentagon budget battles..."Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley...told a Washington audience it might be time to start 'killing' programs with cost overruns and delays," Reuters reports, hopping on Inside Defense's coverage.moseley_talk.jpg

Cuts to major weapons programs could be "well in excess" of $10 billion just for fiscal year 2007, said Loren Thompson of the Virginia-based Lexington Institute, predicting that fighter jets and shipbuilding were particularly vulnerable to cuts...A Pentagon team on October 5 recommended several steps, such as canceling the DD(X) destroyer being developed by Northrop Grumman Corp.; cutting tactical air forces by nearly a third; further delaying the Army's Future Combat Systems program, led by Boeing Co.; building more fast sealift ships and submarines; and developing a new long-range bomber, according to sources familiar with the briefing."The administration is determined to use the need for budget cuts to enforce its investment priorities," Thompson said, predicting the Pentagon would cut Cold War programs such as airplanes, ships and ground vehicles, while maintaining funds for information networks, surveillance systems, communications and satellite programs.Lawmakers' priorities were exactly opposite, he said, which could signal a big pending fight over the 2007 budget.
Gen. Moseley sent some mixed signals himself, in his talk. He discussed the need to wiping out programs that are "taking too long" and "keep growing and growing and growing and growing." But when Inside Defense asked him if that meant that "Space Radar" -- the Air Force's long-delayed, mega-bloated, all-seeing eye-in-the-sky -- project -- might be put to sleep, "Moseley firmly responded: 'No.'"THERE'S MORE: "U.S. military services are drafting worst-case budget plans in anticipation of White House orders to slash many billions of dollars from defense spending in coming years," Defense News says.
As the Pentagon awaits mid-November budget guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), services are mapping cut options of more than $10 billion across their six-year spending plans. Sources said the brunt will be borne by the defense budgets largest discretionary accounts: procurement and research and development, which totaled $143.8 billion in the fiscal 2005 budget request.
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