Budget, Not Strategy

The slew of reports on fighter force plans and options Congress received last week didn’t mollify Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (Md.), ranking Republican on the House Armed Services air and land forces subcommittee, who said at an April 22 hearing, “These reports, which are unfortunately classified and can’t be fully discussed here, did little to change my belief that the budget is driving the force structure requirements instead of the other way around.” In his view, the 2010 budget “targeted the fighter force structure, and it appears the 2011 budget targets the tactical airlift force structure in a similar manner.” Talking about USAF’s plan to shift some reserve C-130s to the active duty, Bartlett observed, “If the military requirements were in fact being met by the budget request, then this attempt at robbing Peter to pay Paul would not be taking place.” (Bartlett opening statement) (For background on C-130 issue, see Mounting Opposition and Looking for an Alternative)