Obama changes his mind on supporting several vital weapons systems

Republican defense hawks are declaring a partial victory over a change of heart by the Obama administration on funding some vital weapons systems.

Politico:

The turnabout is causing a major credibility problem for the Defense Department ahead of Tuesday’s release of the president's new budget proposal, key lawmakers told POLITICO. Republican defense hawks spent the last year opposing the department’s efforts to retire the aging A-10 Warthog attack jet and stop buying Tomahawk missiles and F-18 Super Hornet fighters — the very weapons getting praise now from Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Rep. Mac Thornberry and Sen. John McCain, who chair the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, are already gloating over what they see as a small victory in their larger battle with Obama over military spending.

“I think it harms their credibility because they’re changing positions,” said McCain. “It’s also, I think, an argument for congressional action.”

Thornberry, meanwhile, said Pentagon leaders are “entitled to their opinions.” But, the Texas Republican noted, Congress “also has opinions,” and some of those opinions are now looking “pretty good in hindsight.”

Carter, who flew out West to preview the Pentagon’s $583 billion budget submission, announced the reversals during the last week. They're partly a sign of the changing of the Pentagon's guard, more than a year after the departure of former secretary Chuck Hagel, and partly a reflection of the expanding threats confronting an administration that originally pinned its hopes on resetting relations with Russia and winding down George W. Bush's wars.

The trip amounted to a good news tour for the defense chief, who told sailors, airmen and Marines in California and Nevada about programs that would get a boost in the administration’s spending proposal for fiscal 2017, while declining to list programs that would lose out.

Those details, Carter said, wouldn’t be available until Tuesday’s official budget roll-out.

Among the programs Carter touted were A-10s, Super Hornets and Tomahawk missiles. This is a complete turnaround from last year, when all three programs were on the chopping block.

The A-10 Warthog has proven to be an effective close air support aircraft over the years and is a very reliable and durable platform.  There have been some maintenance problems with the Hornet, but it is unamatched as an all-weather, multi-role combat aircraft.  As for the Tomahawk cruise missile, there has been an effort to phase out these highly effective weapons in favor of the more accurate and faster Next Generation sea-launched cruise missile.  The thinking now is that many of those improvements can be incorporated into the Tomahawk's existing design.

The administration has been smacked by the reality of modern asymmetrical warfare, where these weapons can still play a vital role in the war against Islamic extremism.  In trying to cancel them, the administration acted in a shortsighted manner.

Republican defense hawks are declaring a partial victory over a change of heart by the Obama administration on funding some vital weapons systems.

Politico:

The turnabout is causing a major credibility problem for the Defense Department ahead of Tuesday’s release of the president's new budget proposal, key lawmakers told POLITICO. Republican defense hawks spent the last year opposing the department’s efforts to retire the aging A-10 Warthog attack jet and stop buying Tomahawk missiles and F-18 Super Hornet fighters — the very weapons getting praise now from Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Rep. Mac Thornberry and Sen. John McCain, who chair the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, are already gloating over what they see as a small victory in their larger battle with Obama over military spending.

“I think it harms their credibility because they’re changing positions,” said McCain. “It’s also, I think, an argument for congressional action.”

Thornberry, meanwhile, said Pentagon leaders are “entitled to their opinions.” But, the Texas Republican noted, Congress “also has opinions,” and some of those opinions are now looking “pretty good in hindsight.”

Carter, who flew out West to preview the Pentagon’s $583 billion budget submission, announced the reversals during the last week. They're partly a sign of the changing of the Pentagon's guard, more than a year after the departure of former secretary Chuck Hagel, and partly a reflection of the expanding threats confronting an administration that originally pinned its hopes on resetting relations with Russia and winding down George W. Bush's wars.

The trip amounted to a good news tour for the defense chief, who told sailors, airmen and Marines in California and Nevada about programs that would get a boost in the administration’s spending proposal for fiscal 2017, while declining to list programs that would lose out.

Those details, Carter said, wouldn’t be available until Tuesday’s official budget roll-out.

Among the programs Carter touted were A-10s, Super Hornets and Tomahawk missiles. This is a complete turnaround from last year, when all three programs were on the chopping block.

The A-10 Warthog has proven to be an effective close air support aircraft over the years and is a very reliable and durable platform.  There have been some maintenance problems with the Hornet, but it is unamatched as an all-weather, multi-role combat aircraft.  As for the Tomahawk cruise missile, there has been an effort to phase out these highly effective weapons in favor of the more accurate and faster Next Generation sea-launched cruise missile.  The thinking now is that many of those improvements can be incorporated into the Tomahawk's existing design.

The administration has been smacked by the reality of modern asymmetrical warfare, where these weapons can still play a vital role in the war against Islamic extremism.  In trying to cancel them, the administration acted in a shortsighted manner.