The American government has launched an active campaign to combat the economic crisis. Congress officials are proposing to cut spending by $ 1.5 trillion over the next ten years, with half of that amount going to be spent on the US military-industrial complex. This proposal angered the Pentagon, whose representatives said that such a reduction in funding could lead to the closure of many large programs, negatively affect the level of national security and ultimately deprive America of superpower status.
US President Barack Obama in August 2011, together with the Democratic Party, presented a plan to reduce budgetary funds by two and a half trillion dollars. This plan assumes that the reduction will be carried out in two stages. At the first stage, the budget cuts will amount to one trillion dollars, with more than half (namely 650 billion) coming from the Ministry of Defense. This stage began at the end of September.
According to the second stage, it is planned to increase taxes, as well as cut the budget by another $ 1.5 trillion. However, representatives of the Republican Party strongly opposed this plan.
In response, the Republicans at the end of October proposed their own plan, which included spending cuts by $ 2.2 trillion. It also included the trillion dollar cost-cutting process that had begun in the first plan. The Republicans propose to save money by cutting spending by the Ministry of Defense by 500 billion, as well as by cutting spending on social programs and health care.
It is clear that no plan will have full support, so a special commission, which includes representatives of these two parties, should resolve the dispute between the Democratic and Republican parties.
If a final decision is not made by the end of 2011, an automatic cost-cutting mechanism will come into force, which implies a reduction in funding for $ 1.2 trillion over ten years, 500 billion of which falls on the military department. In addition, the Department of Defense is expected to cut spending by another 450 billion until 2021. Thus, the financing of the military-industrial complex in 2014-2017 will amount to approximately 522 billion.
As a result of this vagueness and uncertainty with the budget cuts, the Government's Budget Office has expressed its assumptions about reducing military spending. According to his estimates, funding for the Pentagon will decrease by $ 882 billion.
This funding cut has caused a real panic in the Department of Defense. Secretary of War Leon Panetta even sent a letter to Senators McCain and Graham, in which he detailed the possible consequences of such a step. He expressed confidence that national security is under enormous threat and that as a result of such a large cut in funding, America should not count on capable troops.
A reduction in funding will inevitably entail a reduction in the personnel of the troops. For ten years, it is planned to reduce the size of the American army from 570 to 520 thousand people, and the infantry - from 202 to 186 thousand. In addition, this will entail a reduction in the nuclear arsenal, and the closure of military bases, the withdrawal of the American contingent from the territories of European states, as well as the revision and reorganization of some military programs. And if, in addition, additional financial cuts are envisaged, then many military programs will have to be curtailed. As a result of all these actions, any of the American adversaries can launch an intervention in the United States.
Panetta also expressed confidence that as a result of cuts in the military budget, the Ministry of Defense will be forced to stop building LCS ships, developing the F-35 Lightning II fighter, and deploying an anti-missile defense system in European countries. He also noted that due to such changes, the size of the American army will be the smallest since 1940, and the number of ships of the naval forces - the minimum since 1915. Moreover, the number of aircraft in the air force is generally the smallest in the history of the United States.
The closure of military programs could result in a broader crisis for America than just a loss of status. Indeed, in some of them, for example, in testing the F-35, countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Norway, Australia and Denmark take part. They have already invested $ 5 billion in this project and are planning to buy about 650 aircraft. If this project closes, the United States will be forced to pay them a forfeit. Moreover, the country has already spent about $ 50 billion on the development of the F-35.
In this situation, the Ministry of Defense is forced to strictly control finances, trying to keep within cash and at the same time keep the troops in proper combat readiness. Therefore, it was decided that in subsequent years the Pentagon was forced to abandon the purchase of new military equipment, except for F-35 aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft, and H-1 helicopters. The service life of the existing equipment is planned to be increased through modernization. These are primarily the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F / A-18 Hornet fighters.
The Air Force intends to improve the F-16 fighters in order to increase flight hours from 8 to 10 thousand. This means that the F-16 will be able to serve at least another 8 years. Such modernization is carried out in order to prevent a shortage of fighters, since the planned number by 2030 should be 200 aircraft.
At the moment, the ships "Mount Winty" and "Blue Ridge" have been modernized. Thus, their service life has been increased by 28 years. The government plans to decommission these ships in 2039. By this time, these vessels will become the oldest in the history of the American naval forces, because by the year of the end of service, the Blue Ridge will be 70 years old, and Mount Winty will be 69. And this despite the fact that only aircraft carriers serve the longest - about 50 years.
It is also planned to reduce the number of aircraft carrier groups from 11 to 9 units. Thus, CSG-7 should be disbanded, and its equipment, in particular the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, will replace Abraham Lincoln as part of CSG-9. This ship is planned to be put for repairs from 2012 to replace nuclear fuel, as well as modernize systems. After Lincoln returns to service, it is planned to decommission the ship Enterprise, which is part of CSG-12.
To date, the leadership of the US naval forces is negotiating with the British authorities regarding the purchase of 74 BAE Harrier II GR9 / A fighters, as well as engines, spare parts and equipment for them. However, the contract has not yet been signed. In the opinion of the military command, such an acquisition of equipment, in fact, is the simplest and cheapest way to maintain the combat job of the armed forces. Today, US forces are armed with 126 Harrier II AV-8B / + fighters, which are similar in technical characteristics to the GR9 / A.
The Navy also plans to reduce the number of purchases of the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters or slow down the process of their production and delivery to the troops as much as possible. The funds that will be saved as a result of such actions, the infantrymen are planning to use for the purchase of F-35C and F-35B fighters. In addition, the command of the naval forces must replace the outdated AB-8B / + and F / A-18A / B / C / D fighters with the new 420 Lightning II units.
If funding cuts continue, the Pentagon will have to abandon even these purchases of military equipment and weapons, moreover, it will be forced to stop military construction, because the costs of each of these projects will be reduced by 23 percent.