News / USA

    Pentagon Weapons Buyer: Tight Budget Will Force Hard Choices

    Three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters fly over Edwards Air Force Base in this Dec. 10, 2011 handout photo provided by Lockheed Martin.
    Three F-35 Joint Strike Fighters fly over Edwards Air Force Base in this Dec. 10, 2011 handout photo provided by Lockheed Martin.
    Reuters
    Tighter budgets risk hurting the combat readiness of some U.S. military units and will force tough decisions about research and procurement, but key weapons such as the F-35 fighter jet remain a priority, a senior Pentagon official said on Tuesday.
     
    Frank Kendall, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said deep cuts across the government due to budget “sequestration” were happening faster than the Pentagon could adjust troop levels and weapons programs.
     
    “We do not find the sequestration levels to be what we need to defend the country and implement our strategy,” Kendall told reporters at the Singapore Airshow.
     
    “If you're going to take a sequestration level cut and pay for your people and pay for their readiness, you have to cut the other part of the budget... So that's essentially research and development and procurement.”
     
    The White House is expected to send its fiscal 2015 budget request to Congress on March 4, which will set off months of wrangling over spending priorities, including for the military.
     
    “It's also going to be hard to protect readiness, which means we'll have some units at least which are not being trained or getting spare parts,” Kendall said.
     
    “I'm most concerned about the research and development cuts because we cannot buy back time.”
     
    U.S. weapons makers have sought to reassure investors, saying they see military budgets likely hitting low points in 2014 and 2015 before spending stabilizes and then rises.
     
    Known as “the chief weapons buyer for the Pentagon”, Kendall said he was working to improve efficiency in the acquisition process, including looking at contracts, incentives and competition while pushing a cost-management mentality.
     
    But that does not mean big-ticket items are vulnerable.
     
    “You have to look at weapons on their value to the war fighter and a system like the F-35, which is a high-cost system comparatively, is a very high-value system,” he said.
     
    “The F-35 remains - despite its relatively high cost - a premier, number one priority conventional warfare program for us, so we're going to continue that under almost any budget level I would imagine that we would have to live with.”
     
    Keeping watch on China
     
    Kendall said the Pentagon was keeping a close watch on China's military modernisation and its “fairly aggressive investments” in anti-access and area denial technologies.
     
    “I'm concerned, with our declining budgets, that we keep pace,” he said. “We've relied on technological superiority for decades now as one of the fundamental things that sets our military apart. I do see that's not assured given the investments being made by China as well as other powers.”
     
    To continue government funding of weapons development, Kendall said, the Pentagon may adopt a “hedging strategy” to invest in earlier phases of research but tight budgets make it “very hard for us to make the kinds of decisions we need to make to preserve our options and to move technology forward”.
     
    He said sharing development costs with the defense industry must ensure the probability of a profit for the companies - the biggest of which are Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co , Raytheon Co and Northrop Grumman Corp.
     
    “I don't think it's fair to industry to ask them to make investments that are dead-ends,” he said. “We will try to fund the things that we need to do... We'll also have to do it selectively.”
     
    Kendall said the big defense companies will ride out the tight budgets but smaller firms could get hit.
     
    “We're looking at the supply chain all the way down to the component suppliers very carefully to make sure we can identify those critical suppliers who might be at risk,” he said.
     
    “We can look at creative ways of buying in some cases ahead of need. As we work with the larger firms, they can do some things such as financial assistance to the firms that are at risk. We can make some investments in technology in areas where it will be helpful to those firms as well.”

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora