The passage of the Ryan-Murray budget plan in the House sends a strong signal that the Pentagon’s budget is basically untouchable. Under the deal, the military’s base budget (which doesn’t include supplemental funding for overseas operations and combat) will be restored to around $520 billion next year—more than it got in 2006 and 2007, when the United States was fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
As Erika Eichelberger reports, the deal could spell the end of efforts to make the Pentagon budget more efficient, particularly in the realm of procurement and contracting. Exhibit A is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the stealthy, high-tech fighter jets that are supposed to do everything from landing on aircraft carriers and taking off vertically to dogfighting and dropping bombs. Faced with sequestration cuts, the Air Force had considered delaying its purchases of the fighters, which are years behind schedule, hugely over budget, and plagued with problems. If the House budget plan becomes law and sequestration is eased for two years, those plans also may be shelved.
More on the pricey plane with a reputation as the biggest defense boondoggle in history:
Pilots are not allowed to fly these test planes at night, within 25 miles of lightning, faster than the speed of sound, or with real or simulated weapons. Pilots say cockpit visibility is worse than in existing fighters. Special high-tech helmets have “frequent problems” and are “badly performing.” Takeoffs may be postponed when the temperature is below 60°F.
And those are fancy, San Francisco foodie cupcakes.
This piece first appeared in MotherJones.comFiled under: Archive