Welcome Back, Carter! Budget Cuts Threaten to Hollow Out the Military

We’re set to lose 80,000 in the Army:

The Army is planning to cut at least eight brigades and 80,000 troops as it trims its budgets, U.S. officials confirmed Wednesday.

The new brigade cuts, which will happen over several years, will reduce the number of Army troops to 490,000 from a high of 570,000. The cuts, first reported by The Associated Press, could reduce the number of brigades from 45 to as low as 32.

The Army’s force reduction has been expected by analysts, but the cuts are now getting finalized as part of the Pentagon’s 2013 budget, which is the first that will deal with a $487 billion reduction over the next decade.


Among other potential problems, that’s 80,000 more unemployed.

Meanwhile the Air Force is set to cancel a successful drone aircraft:

The U.S. Air Force will end the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned drone in favor of older U-2 planes, a defense analyst said Tuesday.

Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, told The Hill that the Northrop drone was one of the programs that would see the budget ax when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta rolls out the first details of the Pentagon 2013 budget Thursday. The Global Hawk drone will be retired in the Air Force, though the Navy variant will remain, Thompson said.

Disclosure: A friend of mine helped design the Global Hawk. It’s a fantastic aircraft. The idea that the Air Force will scuttle them in favor of the U-2 doesn’t make a lot of sense. The GH can fly farther than the U-2 and doesn’t put its pilots at any risk, since it is piloted by remote even from a few countries away from where it may be operating.


Aircraft experts, help me out here. What’s the benefit of the U-2 over the Global Hawk drone? Aside from the fact that Bono likes them.


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