Our recommendations will require adding about $10 billion in new programs to the FY 2005 defense budget, but this does not mean that the Pentagon budget has to be increased from its level of $420 billion. Costs can be offset through the following adjustments to existing or projected major procurement programs in the defense budget. We recommend the following:
- Continue a robust research and development program on a limited national missile defense capability, but postpone operational decisions, including deployment in Alaska and California, until the technology is fully tested and proven effective. Funding could thus be reduced from its level of $10 billion to $5 billion.
- Accelerate the retirement of strategic nuclear weapons consistent with existing arms control agreements with Russia and cancel research on the new nuclear “bunker buster” weapon. This would not only save $2 billion a year, but would reinforce America’s commitment to the global non-proliferation regime.
- Fulfill President Bush’s 1999 pledge to skip the next generation of Cold War era acquisition programs in favor of new technologies that meet the needs of the more dynamic battlefield of the 21st century. Just two examples:
- Cancel the $73 billion F/A-22 fighter program, which is behind schedule, over budget and plagued by technical problems. The Defense Department should continue its commitment to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) – which will improve U.S. inter-operability with international forces at about 25 percent the cost of the F/A-22 – and continue production of the F-16 Block 60’s (about one-sixth the cost of the F/A-22) as a bridge to the JSF. Based on current funding levels, canceling the F/A-22 and buying the F-16s will free up at least $3 billion a year.
- Cancel the $74 billion Virginia class submarine program, while extending the service life of Los Angeles class submarines. This will save $2 billion annually.
By following these offset recommendations, which alone total $12 billion, the administration could meet the budgetary needs of the “Six Steps” and better ensure the safety and prosperity of the American people.
Overview | Five-Point Failure | A Different Strategy | The Six Steps | How We Will Pay For It