The Sunday Paper

NYT's founder Chris Michel forwarded a New York Times op-ed titled "How to Pay for a 21st Century Military" that ran in today's paper. The piece recommends the following steps to get defense spending under control:

End production of the Air Forces F-22. (Recommends the use of "upgraded" F-16s until the F-35 comes into production.)

Cancel the DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyer. (Advises the production of the Littoral Combat Ship instead.)

Halt production of the Virginia class sub. (Recommends extending the life of existing Los Angeles class submarines instead.)

Pull the plug on the Marine Corpss V-22 Osprey. (Recommends buying more H-92s and CH-53s instead.)

Halt premature deployment of missile defense.

Negotiate deep cuts in nuclear weapons.

Trim the active-duty Navy and Air Force.

It cracks me up when those who know little to nothing about the military requirements process and defense procurement suddenly deign to give a damn about it. Talk about the Bush administration handing the Pentagon a "blank check" is ridiculously cliche and simplistic. Further it is ignorant. Tell the budgeteers who spend literally days doing drills that attempt to squeeze every dime out of a program that they've been handed a blank check.

And among the elements missing here are the other crucial missions the military does besides fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and what it takes in manpower and equipment to do those things) and how much it actually costs to extend the life of an outdated system. Further, the "we need more Army and Marines, less Navy and Air Force" logic smacks of folks who have done nothing but watch MSNBC to come up with their understanding of who does what and who's needed in today's military. Did you want the sea lanes open? Did you feel like supplying those Soldiers and Marines at war?

It would be nice if "The Grey Lady" took the time to actually flesh out what's wrong. In accurately identifying problems they might have actually assisted the Obama White House as it attempts to get the five-sided beast under control. As it is, framing things poorly is worse than not framing them at all.

-- Ward

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