If a Humvee gets destroyed in the war on terror, it should be replaced in a war supplemental budget. If an airplane gets lost or worn down to a non-flyable condition in the same war, it should come out of the base budget. That is the view of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and a growing list of lawmakers who question why the Air Force would include F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in its supplemental funding request when the aircraft won’t be available until around 2010. At a March 6 House Budget Committee hearing, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England defended the Air Force position, saying that “there is a principle that’s very important, and that is, as we lose equipment … we do need to recover the costs of the equipment lost. … If we don’t do that, it’s true, it won’t affect us this year or next year but, at some point in the future, we will be short equipment.” Having said that, England stated that the Pentagon likely would “re-allocate and re-prioritize … [and] because of other pressing needs, we will move those to the bottom of the priority list.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.