Campaign for Liberty has cosigned a coalition letter calling on Congress to reject President Obama's request that this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorize spending $202.9 million on the Long Range Anti-ship Missile (LRASM) program.
Text of the letter available here and below:
As organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Americans committed to fiscal responsibility, we believe that it is more imperative than ever that you carefully balance our nation’s need to have the world’s strongest military with strong fiscal policy. This requires a careful assessment of all proposed spending in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA). One particular item that is cause for taxpayer concern is the President’s $202.9 million request for an offensive anti-surface warfare weapon development program, which is often referred to as the Long Range Anti-ship Missile (LRASM).
The Senate Armed Services Committee raised very serious issues about LRASM. Specifically, in its NDAA committee report it cited a history of non-competitive contracting, excessively high costs and insufficient consideration of viable alternatives. Further, the Committee expressed little optimism that these problems would be rectified in the future:
For fiscal year 2015, the Navy plan would continue that same non-competitive approach, but would field only a limited number of the air-launched version of the missile. The budget request and the future years defense program (FYDP) envision spending roughly $1.5 billion to acquire roughly 110 missiles.
The committee is concerned that this program was created to respond to an urgent combatant commander need, but was done so with insufficient analyses of other available alternatives, and with insufficient regard for the costs of locking in a long-term commitment under a non-competitive program.
As fiscal watchdogs, we are very familiar with numerous government projects that promise more than they can deliver and then become mired in budgetary overruns and schedule delays. LRASM has already shown many of those troubling signs.
Even in the realm of military spending, fiscal discipline and prioritization must be a guiding principle. Indeed, it should be especially vital, since misallocated funds on projects with questionable track records and precarious futures endanger lives – not only of our servicepeople, but the American citizens they so ably protect.
As Vice Admiral David Dunaway of the U.S. Navy recently said, “In the face of decreasing budgets, rapidly evolving threats, and a shift in national defense strategy that demands more than ever from our naval forces, it’s imperative that every dollar spent increase warfighting capability.”
LRASM fails to meet this standard, as it is built upon unsound technology and remains approximately a decade away from being operational. Congress and the Pentagon should instead explore options that better serve the interests of both the military and taxpayers.
We urge you to accept the Senate Armed Services Committee’s recommendation to reduce the President’s budget for LRASM by $202.9 million.
National Taxpayers Union
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
James L. Martin
60 Plus Association
Americans for Tax Reform
Vice President of Policy
Campaign for Liberty
Director of Government Affairs
Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Tags: Campaign for Liberty, Real Cuts, Right Now, Millitary Keynisanism