The Air Force’s Flight to Weakness

Defense by , from The Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2012

As the Air Force has been retiring large numbers of older aircraft in recent years, its budgets—drafted by the Pentagon and ultimately enacted by Congress—have prevented it from acquiring enough new aircraft to perform the missions of those retired. From 2008 through 2012, the Air Force retired 700 more aircraft than it bought.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2013 sought to retire an additional 300 airplanes while buying only 54 new ones—a proposal that Congress has so far refused to endorse. The last time the U.S. bought so few aircraft was 1915 (for the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, an Air Force predecessor). The U.S. even bought more aircraft during the Great Depression.

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