The House Armed Services Committee’s Republican majority staff issued a doom-and-gloom memo to Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) warning that potential cuts to the US military may make an all-volunteer force “unsustainable” and lead to the “return of the draft.” The memo, dated Sept. 22, states that the Defense Department already is prepared to take a $465 billion hit to its budget over the next 10 years; further reductions would be “irresponsible,” it asserts. “The Navy will likely mothball more than 60 ships . . . while we give up nearly a third of Army maneuver battalions and Air Force fighters, a quarter of our bombers, and jeopardize our ability to defend America against a nuclear attack,” reads the attached executive statement. The staff members also warn that future cuts could lead to “longer and more frequent deployments,” as well as “dramatically reduced” benefits for healthcare and retirement.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.