Today The Heritage Foundation honors Americas men and women who died in military service. And there is no better way to honor them than by pushing for adequate support for our armed services. The preamble of the Constitution clearly gives the federal government the responsibility to provide for the common defense. But that goal can not be reached without proper defense spending and investments.
Today’s military is roughly half the size it was in the early 1990s. The Army has gone from 18 divisions during Desert Storm to 10; the Air Force has gone from 37 tactical air wings to 20; and the Navy has gone from 568 ships in the late 1980s to a fleet of only 276 today.
Defunded Missile Defense
Last week Iran successfully launched a long-range missile capable of hitting Israel and other countries in the Middle East, yet President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates have asked Congress to reduce the missile defense budget by $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2010. It only makes sense that if our enemies have ballistic missile capabilities, we should have missile defense technologies. See The Heritage Foundations documentary called 33 Minutes on the urgent call to protect America.
Much of the military’s equipment is old and increasingly unreliable, and its technological edge is at risk.
- The average age of Air Force aircraft in 1973 was just nine years. The average aircraft today is 24 years old, while aircraft modernization funding has dropped by nearly 20 percent.
- The Pentagon purchased an average of 238 Air Force fighters and five tanker aircraft each year from 19751990, compared to only 28 from 1991 to 2000.
- This dramatic reduction in our fighter force is happening at the same time F-15s are falling out of the sky because they’ve been patched up so many times.
- The Navy had to pause the entire worldwide U.S. surface fleet last year due to poor readiness reports.
In order to honor our military heroes and provide for the common defense of America, we must devote the resources we need to the military.