Romney Plan: Stabilize Budgets, Modernize Aircraft

Long-term budget stabilization and modernization of the Air Force’s bomber, fighter, and tanker fleets would be key White House priorities under a Romney Administration, said campaign defense and foreign policy advisor Roger Zakheim. Repeated rounds of budget cuts have hampered both the cost of defense acquisition programs and the process of Pentagon acquisition reform, Zakheim told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 11. Properly funding the F-35 strike fighter program, for example, is essential, but “we need to get control of the costs,” he said. The Obama Administration has struggled to do this, and its budgetary tinkering has exacerbated the problem, said Zakheim. “The environment with cuts here is not helping because every time you go and cut the buy, you know what happens next—cost per copy goes up,” he explained. “We have the fighter gap we need to address in the Air Force,” he added. As to Romney’s other modernization priorities, “there will be emphasis on the long-range strike,” said Zakheim, who serves as deputy staff director and general counsel for the House Armed Services Committee.