The World War II Memorial on America's national mall has two main sections. A central core honors the bravery and sacrifice of our service men and women who fought abroad, and an outer ring celebrates the effort here at home, from the children who ran scrap drives to the workers who built the defense machinery needed to win the war. "Most historians agree that World War II was won as surely on the American home front as it was on the battlefield," according to the government's Home Front study published in 2007.
First and foremost, investments in critical programs such as stealth fighter jets, spy satellites, and bunker-buster missiles that can destroy buried nuclear plants are critical to our nation’s security. Voices from both parties have said the “slash and burn approach” of sequestration would devastate our capabilities.
The following came from Robert Stevens, chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin during a keynote last month: “The aerospace and defense industry cannot wait until a lame duck session to deal with the consequences of sequestration. We are already taking action by not hiring and training new workers, not investing in new plants and equipment, and not investing in new R&D. An additional $53 billion a year in defense cuts starting in January 2013 would be catastrophic for our industry and our nation.”
That is the reality this industry faces, even before the January 2013 cuts…
The Obama administration has assured the American public that any cuts to defense spending would be part of a reasonably balanced package of reductions, would help reduce record budget deficits, and will be "reversible" if future contingencies require it.
Now that the Pentagon has released the president's fiscal year 2013 defense budget, the question is how well did it achieve those three goals? Despite the best efforts of the defense leadership to make sensible strategic trade-offs with significantly less resources, the final result does not match the rhetoric and the promises.