March 25, 2014 – San Francisco, CA – PipeLineNews.org – Now, it seems, things are getting personal in Obama's 5 plus year war on an already underfunded U.S. Defense Budget. Instead of attempting to streamline the Pentagon's notorious inefficiencies, it's top heavy bureaucracy and Byzantine procurement process [DARPA excepted] the President is now proposing to kill two of the United States' most effective weapons, the Tomahawk and Hellfire missile systems.
The Tomahawk is a jet powered sub-sonic missile which has been in service since 1983 and is looked upon as a primary land attack weapon. It's capable of being configured to deliver a half-ton high explosive warhead, smaller bomblets or a 200kt nuclear device. [for complete specs please refer to BGM 109 Tomahawk, Federation of American Scientists]
The Hellfire is a smaller [100 lb.] air to ground missile designed to engage and destroy, "individual moving or stationary advanced armor, mechanized or vehicular targets, patrol craft, buildings, or bunkers while increasing aircraft survivability…" [source, . AGM 114 Hellfire, Federation of American Scientists]
The just released 2015 proposed budget of the U.S. Navy shows that while it procured over 600 Hellfire missiles in 2014, it proposes to end that process in the coming year.
That same budget shows a reduction in the Tomahawk program by over 100M in 2015, procuring only 100 units. If the administration is allowed to have its way, the Tomahawk program will end as of FY 2016.
Given the proven effectiveness of both systems, Team Obama's proposed actions have left national security experts puzzled.
It's an especially odd decision given the looming challenges facing the United States and in Obama's case even harder to understand given that he used nearly 200 Tomahawks in his ill-fated Libyan campaign.
As Seth Cropsey [Director, Hudson Institute's Center for American Seapower] states:
"It doesn't make sense…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." [Adam Kredo, Obama to Kill Tomahawk, Hellfire Missile Programs, Washington Free Beacon]
The negative impact that removing these two weapons from the American arsenal will be far reaching and long lived, as replacements for these two proven missile systems are still far down the road.
In the meantime war planners [assuming there are any remaining in Obama's Pentagon] will have to be extraordinarily resourceful if a workaround for this dilemma is to be found.
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