Administration to cancel Hellfire and Tomahawk missile programs

Let’s start with a simple question. What happens when a soldier runs out of ammunition during a firefight? First, he either retreats, or he quickly becomes killed, wounded or captured.  Second, his tactical position converts from active to indefensible which imperils the strategic array of the entire battlefield.

What do you call a submarine that runs out of torpedoes? Missing in action. That’s an old Navy joke that dates back to WWII.  However the fundamental military concept remains true: without the ability to attack your enemy and inflict serious damage, you’re unable to influence any subsequent events on the battlefield. The military has a term for any ship or combat unit that cannot defend itself, “Useless as tits on boar.”

From The Washington Free Beacon by Adam Kredo we read:

President Barack Obama is seeking to abolish two highly successful missile programs that experts say have helped the U.S. Navy maintain military superiority for the past several decades.

The Tomahawk missile program—known as “the world’s most advanced cruise missile”—is set to be cut by $128 million under Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal and completely eliminated by fiscal year 2016, according to budget documents released by the Navy.

In addition to the monetary cuts to the program, the number of actual Tomahawk missiles acquired by the United States would drop significantly—from 196 last year to just 100 in 2015. The number will then drop to zero in 2016.

The Navy will also be forced to cancel its acquisition of the well-regarded and highly effective Hellfire missiles in 2015, according to Obama’s proposal.

The proposed elimination of these missile programs came as a shock to lawmakers and military experts, who warned ending cutting these missiles would significantly erode America’s ability to deter enemy forces.

The U.S. Navy relied heavily on them during the 2011 military incursion into Libya, where some 220 Tomahawks were used during the fight.

Nearly 100 of these missiles are used each year on average, meaning that the sharp cuts will cause the Tomahawk stock to be completely depleted by around 2018. This is particularly concerning to defense experts because the Pentagon does not have a replacement missile ready to take the Tomahawk’s place.

“It doesn’t make sense,” said Seth Cropsey, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower. “This really moves the U.S. away from a position of influence and military dominance.”

Cropsey said that if someone were trying to “reduce the U.S. ability to shape events” in the world, “they couldn’t find a better way than depriving the U.S. fleet of Tomahawks. It’s breathtaking.”

Meanwhile, the experimental anti-ship cruise missile meant to replace the Tomahawk program will not be battle ready for at least 10 years, according to some experts. The Long Range Anti Ship Missile has suffered from extremely expensive development costs and has underperformed when tested.

This article brings up so many unasked and unanswered questions.

Where do the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) stand on this absurd military folly? Have these supposed war fighters become so politically emasculated that would allow our soldiers and sailors go in harms way without the sufficient and proven weapons they require to win big and win fast? 

This Administration certainly understands the needs for sufficient ammunition, hence the purchase of hundreds of millions of rounds for Homeland Security, the IRS, and dozens of other domestic Federal agencies. But why does this same Administration seeks to “abolish two highly successful missile programs.” that are key to projecting force both on the seas and in any heavy tank and artillery land warfare scenario?

What changes in policy and operational deployment will the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian military staffs’ be making in the next few years, in light of this new information?

First published in 1898, H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds, continues to warn us of evil, by “intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic.”

“Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.”

And we also know there are “envious eyes” residing in the White House, quickly and surely drawing their plans against us.