Rebuttal of the “unneeded weapon systems” lie


One of the lies that the opponents of a strong defense are spreading is that the defense budget contains “a wish-list” of unneeded weapon systems whose cancellation would putatively save enough money to pay for the sequester.

But this is a blatant lie. I’ll prove to you why.

Firstly, here is a budget poster which, although it greatly exaggerates the toplines for defense spending and overall security spending, does show what exact weapon programs the defense budget pays for.

Now, regarding the “wish-list” lie:

The defense budget does not contain any such “wish-list”. The vast majority of the weapon programs in it are needed weapon programs, the requirements for which have been clearly established and proven through a holistic requirements review process. The claim that the DOD’s weapon programs are mere toys for generals who merely “want” these weapons is a blatant lie.

The only exceptions to this are a few weapon systems which were intended to fill a genuine requirement but are not capable of filling them due to insufficient capability or other defects: the Littoral Combat Ship, the SM-3 Block IIB, and the CH-47 Chinook.

Moreover, a review – or even a short glance – at the list of the weapon systems that the opponents of a strong defense, such as POGO hacks, want to kill, reveals that the vast majority (if not all) of what they call unneeded weapon systems are actually needed weapons required to replace obsolete equipment and/or fill capability gaps: e.g. the next generation bomber (needed to penetrate defended airspace, which currently only the USAF’s 20 B-2s can do); the F-35 stealth strike fighter; an entire carrier group (thus significantly cutting the Navy’s ability to deliver airpower); new nuclear weapon production facilities designed to supplement/replace obsolete ones; the M1A2 tank production line (which POGO has tried to killed since its foundation in 1981); tactical nuclear weapons; and the excellent V-22 Osprey, which is far more capable and far more survivable than any helicopter while also being twice cheaper than the CH-53E/K. For why POGO’s proposals to kill a number of crucial weapon programs would be ruinous, and why these weapon programs are needed, see here.

No, the defense budget does not contain “a wish-list” of unneeded weapon programs. It funds, almost exclusively, needed, crucial weapon programs. But even killing them would not produce enough “savings” to meet the sequester’s budget cut goal of $550 bn over the next decade, on top of the $487 bn/decade mandated by the First Tier of the BCA.

Once again, the opponents of a strong defense have been disproven. They’re lying.

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