Senator Bumpers: We're Armed To The Teeth

"The Pentagon's real readiness crisis" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Dec. 19) is wrong to assert that spending cuts mean that U.S. troops may have to go into some future conflict "stuck with yesterday's weapons."

Even thmugh the Soviet threat is gone, our forces are much better equipped today than at the end of the cold war. They will continue to improve--with more than $100 billion worth of new weapons in the pipeline, including three supercarriers, three ballistic-missile submarines, eight nuclear attack subs, a squadron of B-2 bombers, plus scores of F-15, F-16, and F-18 fighters. All are superior to their counterparts elsewhere in the world.

During the rest of the 1990s, we will spend as much on military research and development as during the late 1970s, when we designed the generation of weapons that performed so successfully in Operation Desert Storm. The Pentagon will spend more than $1.5 trillion during the next five years. As long as we don't waste money on hugely expensive weapons no longer needed, this will be more than enough to maintain our readiness and overwhelming technological superiority.

If this isn't enough, it'll be because we presided over the greatest mismanagement of defense spending ever. Is it not incredible that we spend as much on defense as the rest of the world combined, and yet people like you suggest we're becoming a "hollow" military?

Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.)

U.S. Senate


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