Tuesday, January 03, 2012

U.S. military to shrink

The lead story in the New York Times today is about the U.S. reducing its military budget by at least $450 billion over a decade, part of the agreement reached at the time of the debt ceiling extension. Leon Panetta, the Defence Secretary is to outline plans this week on how they propose to go about shrinking the U.S. military. Among the possible cuts, you guessed it F-35 fans:
The chief target for weapons cuts is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, one of the most expensive weapons program in history. The Pentagon has plans to spend nearly $400 billion to buy 2,500 of the stealth jets through 2035, but reductions are expected.

The debate centers on how necessary the advanced stealth fighter really is and whether missions could be carried out with the less expensive F-16s. The main advantage of the F-35 is its ability to evade radar systems, making it difficult to shoot down — an attribute that is important only if the United States anticipates a war with another technologically advanced military.

“It would matter some with Iran, it would matter a lot with China,” said Michael E. O’Hanlon, a defense analyst at the Brookings Institution and the author of a recent book, “The Wounded Giant: America’s Armed Forces in an Age of Austerity.”
See that, the "debate"is American-centred, focused on what they need, whether they can make do with less expensive jets, what kinds of wars they anticipate. Or, if you're Canada under the Harper government, those are your acquisition considerations too.

So, "reductions are expected," and that may impact us in terms of cost and maybe how many we buy. Possibly why Julian Fantino's talking point lines were changing in December.

Panetta's announcement one to watch this week, along with all the other U.S. craziness.