Right? Then explain how the House Armed Services Committee, faced with budget caps of its own design, refused to adopt recommendations by Defense secretary Chuck Hagel to terminate weapons boondoggles like the F-35 and the U-2 spy plane program. Will that last one every die?
The first big test of the Hagel approach came last week in the House Armed Services Committee. The Pentagon and the committee were both forced to work within a $496 billion maximum for basic defense spending in 2015 because of budget caps set by Congress. The committee also authorized $79 billion for war financing and $17.9 billion for defense-related nuclear programs, for a total price tag of $600.7 billion. In 2016, the military could face billions of dollars in further reductions if Congress does not lift the caps.
With these and other factors in mind, Mr. Hagel proposed to eliminate the fleet of Air Force A-10 attack aircraft, retire the U-2 spy plane in favor of the remotely piloted Global Hawk and cut maintenance for an aircraft carrier that would be slated for retirement in 2016. The committee, pressed by lobbyists and members in districts where the weapons are built, voted to keep all three.
Something tells me that Congress will make an exception for the Pentagon. Forget the caps.