Military modernization “in some areas” has been “clearly underfunded” to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, new Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told Washington-based defense reporters Tuesday morning. He wants to change that by raising defense budgets, if necessary. Getting US forces out of Iraq would free up money for defense modernization, but Levin worries it won’t happen soon enough. He said, “I think we have to do what’s necessary, and if that includes an increase, so be it.” However, “that’s not our goal,” Levin added. He views modernization and the war costs as “connected events.” Levin said the Democratic majority would consider derailing some Administration tax cuts as one means to pay to “reset” the armed forces.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.