Letter to the Editor Published in The New York Times
Michael O’Hanlon’s proposals for restructuring defense investment priorities (“How Much Military?”) reflect a distinctly unrealistic view of threats, technology and politics.
Mr. O’Hanlon dismisses current spending plans for the top procurement goals of the Air Force (the F-22 fighter), the Army (the Comanche helicopter), and the Marine Corps (the Osprey tiltrotor transport).
Mr.O’Hanlon says U.S. military forces are far ahead of real or potential foes, without acknowledging that the weapons in question must be able to deal with enemies decades into the next century. He says plans to acquire other military technologies such as unmanned aircraft make sense because they are economical, when in fact the long-range cost of such programs is not clear at all. And he calls for Congress to further scale back already shrunken weapons programs, without any consideration for the level of effort needed to sustain a political constituency for adequate defenses.
The fact is that congressional committees have been complaining about too little weapons investment for years, so further cutbacks are not in the cards.
And with weapons procurement now claiming barely 3% of the federal budget, they shouldn’t be.
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