Weinberger spells out military cuts
Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger revealed yesterday (Sept. 23) how he plans to cut $13 billion from the defense budget. He disclosed that the US Army's Roland air defense system will be abandoned as it is "running well above projected costs"; that the fielding of new tanks and fighting vehicles will be delayed, and that the 7th Infantry Division will be temporarily reduced from 15, 000 to 5,000 men.
He also said that the Army will slow down planned desert and reserve training as well as cut some construction projects and reduce a variety of other air defense, missile, combat vehicle, combat support, and intelligence programs. He stressed, however, that construction projects in Europe would not fall under the ax.
The defense secretary, who was testifying before the House Budget Committee, added that the Army's ammunition budget will be cut by $1.1 billion in fiscal years 1982 through 1987.
The bulk of the cuts the Navy will bear affect the shipbuilding program, Mr. Weinberger disclosed. Plans to reactivate the aircraft carrier Oriskany will be abandoned and 11 general-purpose ships will be axed from the request for fiscal years 1982 through 1987.
Moreover, 18 ships will be retired earlier than planned and fleet steaming hours will be reduced.
Secretary Weinberger said that a wide range of Air Force programs are to be modified. B-52Ds will be retired earlier than planned, as will some of the older Titan II intercontinental missiles. The Air Force also will terminate the KC-10 tanker aircraft program, slow the reengining of KC-135 tankers, and curtail further production of the A-10 tank-busting fighter.
In addition, the Air Force will reduce the F-15 fighter program and slow planned manpower buildups by approximately two years.
Secretary Weinberger told the committee that the reductions "come as a result of making difficult choices." He said that the programs delayed or eliminated are not unnecessary but "constitute the best way to help achieve the administration's overall objectives of reducing the deficits."
He added that in making the cuts the Defense Department had protected the readiness and sustainability of US forces.