Our defense budget is out of control

On March 28, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration submitted to Congress a proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Budget request of $813.3 billion for national defense, $773.0 billion of which is for the Department of Defense.

Defense spending by the United States increased by $44 billion from 2019 to 2020, according to recently released figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). That increase outstripped growth in spending from other countries, and as a result, the United States now spends more on defense than the following 11 countries combined (up from outspending the next ten countries combined in 2019).

In other words, socialism exists in our defense budget. Here are some significant issues that we all paid for.

The F-22 Raptor- The F-22 is expensive, with $74 billion invested in the fighter during its lifetime. The United States stopped making them in 2011 because of the belief that a fighter-interceptor for dogfighting was unnecessary during the war on terror.

The F-22 is a cluster fuck. F-22 Raptors have a long checklist of tasks that must be completed before a flight. Last year, there that the Air Force didn’t like to discuss. Reliability has been a concern. For example, F-22 oxygen systems have had well-documented problems and collapsed landing gear. It needs a lot of stealth coating maintenance.

In 2017, the Air Force studied how to get more F-22s and the hurdles. The most glaring factor was the high cost. Starting production without a dedicated manufacturing line would cost $50 billion to build 194 more at the expense of over $200 million for each new airplane. $10 billion alone was required to start up the production line.

The Air Force doesn’t want any more F22s, and with high maintenance and operational costs, one can see why.

Navy Ships- In 2016, the U.S. Navy announced that it needed 355 human-crewed ships by around 2050 to execute mission requirements around the globe — up from the 308 currently in the fleet. The fiscal 2023 White House budget request released on March 28 calls for the retirement of 24 ships and the construction of just nine, leaving the Navy further from its fleet-building goal than when it started. There are only 298 battle-force ships in service today, and that number is on track to dip even lower in coming years.

Most shocking is the Navy’s decision to decommission 16 ships that had not yet reached the end of their service lives, including nine of the relatively new littoral combat ships — a class that has proved unreliable and ill-equipped for its designated mission sets.

The Navy is feeling an intense budget squeeze and leaders say they’re making tough choices so they can invest in new ship construction. The service expects to save $3.6 billion across the next five years by taking 24 ships out of commission.

Then there are aircraft carriers. The USS Ford is the most advanced aircraft carrier the US has ever built. The tally for the total cost is $13.3 billion, nearly 30% more than initial estimates. Now keep in mind that China already has developed weapons than can sink an aircraft carrier in minutes, even with their defense weapons. It’s on;y $13.3 billion.

The war in Ukraine has many lessons to be learned. One is that drones are far more valuable as a military weapon than land-based missiles. The days of troops storming cities are gone, along with the use of tanks. The defense spending bill included $120 million for tanks that the Army has repeatedly said it doesn’t want. For three years, in numerous Congressional hearings, the Army has pushed a plan that would have suspended tank building and upgrades in the U.S. for the first time since World War II. want the tanks because they are built in their Congressional districts.

Now President Biden has submitted an increased military budget for 2023 that includes $813 billion in spending for national defense, a 4% increase of $31 billion from the spending package signed into law earlier this month. This is beyond irresponsible. It’s like a kid in a toy store with mom’s credit card.

In Eisenhower’s farewell address, he said, “in the government councils, we must guard against the military-industrial complex's acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist”.

Too bad we just haven’t learned.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store