New Weapons Get Big Cash in Pentagon Request

You might think, with two wars draining hundreds of billions from the country's coffers, that the Pentagon would be inclined to slow down its modernization efforts. Especially ones that have little or nothing to do with fighting terrorists -- or even battling North Korea or Iran. That'd be wrong.spr02cvr.jpgThe Pentagon fiscal year 2008 budget adds another $8.8 billion to its modernization accounts, Defense Department comptroller Tina Jonas justed noted in a news conference. That'll include "the first significant funding" -- $3 billion -- in the next generation of aircraft carrier," the CVN-21. The Joint Strike Fighter fleet will grow from two in FY07, to twelve the following year -- including the first short take-off version. It'll take $6 billion in 2008, the Pentagon projects. Despite major cost inflation, the Defense Department budget request "funds three littoral combat ships and will continue funding for two DDG-1000-class destroyers and another amphibious assault ship," according to a American Forces Press Service article. "The Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter is budgeted at $3.8 billion for 20 aircraft."The F-22, it should be noted, was recently deemed "too sensitive... to be useful" in places like Iraq. Most of these other systems -- big destroyers, new aircraft carriers, and the like -- wouldn't have much to do with an Iraq-style situation. Neither would the $8.8 billion for missile defense (although that is a more than a half-billion less than what the program got last year).Of the major service's weapons programs, only the Army's massive modernization effort, Future Combat Systems, seems to have been trimmed. The $3.6 billion requested for FCS is just slightly less than what the Pentagon asked for last year.One bit of good news is that the Army, after years of requests, is starting to get a bigger slice of the budget. "If the budget is enacted as submitted, the Army will receive $130.1 billion in fiscal 2008, for an increase of more than 20 percent," the American Forces Press Service says. "The Navy will receive $119.3 billion, up 9 percent. The Marine Corps will receive $20.5 billion, up 4.3 percent, and the Air Force will receive $136.6 billion; an increase of 8.2 percent."Bloomberg's ace Pentagon-watcher, Tony Capaccio, has more.UPDATE 02/06/07 4:06 PM: "Any fear that war costs would crimp spending on new weapons evaporated Feb. 5 when the Pentagon unveiled its proposed 2008 budget," says Defense News. Check out these stats:

$14.4 billion for new ships, a 29 percent increase over 2007.$6 billion for satellites and related equipment, a 25 percent increase.$27.4 billion for warplanes, an 18 percent increase.$3.7 billion on the Armys Future Combat Systems, a 9 percent boost.
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