Daniel McAdams / The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity & Connor O’Brien / Politico – 2017-01-20 01:08:12
McCain’s $5 Trillion Military Budget:
Will It Make America Great Again?
Daniel McAdams / The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity
(January 19, 2017) — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wants to spend five trillion dollars over the next five years in a massive build-up of the US military. Dozens of ships will be built, as well as more than a hundred new fighter jets — including the problem-plagued F-35. The Army and Marines will greatly expand. McCain’s goal is to be able to fight a conventional war in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
It’s as if we are back in 1950! How much do McCain’s donors in the military-industrial complex love this budget? We can only imagine. But will Trump bite? Is this the kind of spending that would really “make America great again”? As Alibaba gazillionaire Jack Ma put it so well recently in Davos, the US has wasted $14 trillion on wars over the past 30 years. More on this today in the Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity
McCain Fires Opening Shot in
Pentagon Budget Wars with Buildup Plan
Connor O’Brien / Politico
(January 15, 2017) — Sen. John McCain is set to propose a military buildup that would add nearly half a trillion dollars to the defense budget over the next five years and blow past current limits on Pentagon spending, according to a copy of the blueprint drafted by the chairman of the Armed Services and obtained by POLITICO.
The proposal, which is set to be unveiled early this week, is the opening salvo of Republican hawks as they seek to leverage GOP majorities in the House and Senate and seize upon the surprise victory of President-elect Donald Trump, who campaigned on a pledge to rebuild the armed forces.
The 21-page plan advocates boosting the Pentagon budget as well as nuclear weapons spending in the Department of Energy by approximately $430 billion over budget projections between fiscal 2018 and 2022 — including to finance a bigger Army and significantly more new warships and fighter jets.
It would also bust through the spending caps now mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which are not set to expire until after 2021 and would have to be overturned.
Both McCain and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who has also called for more defense spending, have long contended that President Barack Obama has not proposed defense budgets sufficient to meet global threats.
“For too long, we have allowed budget constraints to drive strategy,” the Arizona Republican’s proposal argues. “It is time to turn this around and return to the first order question: What do we need our military to do for the nation?”
“It is not cheap,” the paper concedes of the price tag, but adds: “The cost of further inaction, however, is worse: We will irreparably damage our military’s ability to deter aggression and conflict.”
The plan calls for $640 billion in defense spending for fiscal year 2018, $54 billion above current projections. Combined with $60 billion in projected spending for overseas operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, that would bring total defense spending next year to just over $700 billion.
That compares with $611 billion authorized for this year — including for the Pentagon, Department of Energy, and separate war funds.
Including war funding, defense spending would top out at just over $800 billion in fiscal 2022, according to the McCain plan.
The broad contours of the plan were first reported last week by POLITICO.
The blueprint advocates increasing the size of the Army to over 500,000 active-duty soldiers. While it calls for the Army to study it’s optimal size and shape, it says a “realistic objective” would be to add 8,000 troops per year through 2022.
The plan also calls for the Marine Corps to grow to 200,000 by fiscal 2022, or at about 3,000 additional Marines per year.
The Navy, meanwhile, should “ramp up shipbuilding as much and as quickly as possible.”
But it acknowledges that the Navy can’t reach its goal of 355 ships — 81 over the current size — in just five years. Instead, the plan calls for buying 59 ships in five years. That is 18 more than the current plan, including five more attack submarines, three destroyers, two amphibious ships and five fleet oilers.
The plan for the Navy also recommends a “high/low mix” in Navy aircraft carriers, relying on smaller, conventionally powered carriers — not simply nuclear-powered ones now in the fleet — to take on “day-to-day missions.”
The Air Force may require upwards of 60 combat squadrons of about 1,500 combat aircraft, according to the blueprint. It proposes purchasing 73 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force and 20 extra F-35s for the Marine Corps through 2022.
But McCain’s plan also casts doubt on the goal of purchasing a total of 1,763 F-35s for the Air Force as is now planned. “This goal is unrealistic and requires reevaluation, and likely a reduction, of the ultimate size of the F-35 buy,” the paper states.
To further beef up the fighter force, it calls for the Navy to purchase an extra 58 F/A-18 Super Hornets and 16 EA-18G Growlers over the next five years.
Other notable items from McCain’s proposal:
* Truncating purchases of the embattled Littoral Combat Ship at 28 total ships and speeding up procurement of the Navy’s next small surface combatant. “We must get beyond it as soon as possible,” the paper argues.
* Increasing research and development funding to field new capabilities. “Priority areas,” according to the paper, include cyber and space capabilities, unmanned systems, directed energy, electronic warfare and nanotechnology.
* Maintaining and modernizing each leg of the nuclear triad — missiles, bombers, and submarines — and overhauling the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons facilities. “The costs, while significant, are manageable,” the proposal argues of nuclear forces.
* Accelerating development of new missile defense systems. The plan calls for investing in “the next generation” of missile defense capabilities. “Important development areas should include boost phase defense programs, directed energy, hypervelocity projectiles, high-power microwaves, battle management using learning machines, and space-based capabilities,” it says.
The plan also assumes $60 billion will be needed each year over the next five years to pay for military operations in the Middle East and elsewhere — costs that are covered by the so-called Overseas Contingency Operations budget, which is not counted against the spending caps.
But the paper says that “the moment the [Budget Control Act] is finally repealed,” those war costs should be shifted into the Pentagon’s regular budget for good.
Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.
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