The U.S. Air Force’s fleet of fighters, bombers, tankers and transports is older today than ever before, thanks to chronic neglect of air power modernization since the Cold War ended. Air Force leaders have put together a plan for “recapitalizing” most of those Cold War planes, but it requires high levels of spending early in the next decade that probably will not materialize. First, the other services are likely to resist giving the Air Force two-fifths of the military acquisition budget for an entire decade. Second, federal budget deficits are headed above a trillion dollars annually after 2021. Third, the Air Force budget will be weighed down by a raft of fixed costs that Congress is loathe to eliminate. Fourth, according to the Congressional Budget Office the modernization plan is likely to cost billions of dollars more each year than the Air Force plans. Finally, there is a bias built into the political culture that assigns less priority to military modernization than just about any other form of federal spending. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
Find Archived Articles: