12 January 2006

Big Picture U.S. Military Plans

The Congressional Budget Office released a report in October, 2005 setting forth the administration's Defense Budget plans, how much it thinks those plans will cost, and alternatives that are respectively less and more ambitious than those of the administration in terms of new technologies and approaches.

Some of the notable alternatives to administration plans considered include a conventionally powered aircraft carrier (as opposed to a nuclear powered one), buying twice as many small aircraft carriers with short takeoff, vertical landing aircraft, instead of large aircraft carriers with more conventional upgrades, abandoning various planned new technology (the F-22, the F-35, V-22, UAVs, DD(X), CG(X) and Army Future Combat System, among others), in favor of upgrading existing systems, and developing a new, smaller attack submarine which is less expensive to replace the Virginia class attack submarines now being built (themselves a replacement for the larger Seawolf class attack submarines which were abandoned after just three units due to budget concerns), and developing an interim, intermediate range bomber for the Air Force or a new long range high speed cruise missile to replace some of the bomber force all together.

Notably, one program which no alternative proposed eliminating was the Marine's Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (a next generation armored amphibious personnel carrier). For a long time, this has been on everyone's list of programs that might fail, but apparently both Congress and the administration now have faith that it will work.

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