by COREY BARROW
The United States Navy uses approximately 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles annually to decisively respond to global threats to freedom. The Tomahawk missile is the most advanced cruise missile in the world.
The Hellfire missile is also highly regarded as being particularly effective at what it does. The Hellfire missile program has become a staple of anti-terrorism operations since the CIA and military modified the Predator drone aircraft to be capable of launching them.
Under President Obama’s shrinking military budget, both programs will be eliminated during the next few years. By 2018, the United States will have exhausted all of its remaining inventory of Tomahawk missiles. And the military has no current plans for a replacement of either weapon system.
President Barack Obama is seeking to abolish two highly successful missile programs that experts say has 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.
“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.”
The issue isn’t money. Obama’s budget uses the money saved from cutting funds to these programs and spends it on an experimental missile that won’t be combat-ready for another 10 years. That leaves a gaping hole in America’s military capabilities since the missile will not be ready when the Tomahawk supply is completely exhausted.
Navy experts and retired officials fear that the elimination of the Tomahawk and Hellfire systems—and the lack of a battle-ready replacement—will jeopardize the U.S. Navy’s supremacy as it faces increasingly advanced militaries from North Korea to the Middle East.
The cuts are “like running a white flag up on a very tall flag pole and saying, ‘We are ready to be walked on,’” Cropsey said.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Steve Russell called the cuts to the Tomahawk program devastating for multiple reasons.
“We run a huge risk because so much of our national policy for immediate response is contingent on our national security team threatening with Tomahawk missiles,” said Russell, who is currently running for Congress.
“The very instrument we will often use and cite, we’re now cutting the program,” Russell said. “There was a finite number [of Tomahawk’s] made and they’re not being replenished.”
“If our national policy is contingent on an immediate response with these missile and we’re not replacing them, then what are we going do?” Russell asked.
Barack Obama is clearly purposely weakening the military might of the United States as Russia continues to gain strength. With the scaling back of our nation’s military power and capabilities, America is being fundamentally transformed. Is this the change you hoped for?
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