August 29, 2012
Credit: Credit: Alenia Aeronautica
The Republicans’ 2012 platform, approved during the party’s presidential nominating convention in Tampa, Fla., this week, lashes out at President Obama on many fronts, including the U.S. Air Force’s aircraft reductions.
“More than a century ago, Republican President Theodore Roosevelt predicted that America’s future was in the Pacific. That future is here today, but it can develop peacefully only under the shield of American naval and air power,” the platform states. “Yet the current administration plans to significantly curtail production of our most advanced combat aircraft, decommission 6 of 60 Air Force tactical squadrons, and eliminate critical air mobility assets, including 27 giant C-5As and 65 C-130s, while divesting the nation of the brand new C-27.”
The platform goes on to blast the president’s plans to retire seven cruisers and slow work on amphibious ships and attack submarines. “The current President is repeating the disastrous cuts of the post-Vietnam war era, putting our nation in danger of returning to the ‘hollow force’ of the Carter administration, when the U.S. military was not respected in the world,” the document continues.
Congress has proposed blocks to a number of those reductions, moving to halt the Air Force’s cuts to the Air National Guard and its planned mothballing of the C-27J.
For its part, the Obama administration also has invoked the specter of a “hollow force,” arguing that to support budget reductions, the military needs to reduce its force structure and cut back on gear that is too costly to maintain.
“If I have a large force and I don’t have the money to maintain that large force, I’m going to end up hollowing it out, because I can’t provide the training [and] I can’t provide the equipment,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in June. “So that’s why, if we’re going to reduce the force, then I’ve got to be able to do it in a responsible way.”