(CNSNews.com) - Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday at a hearing on the Defense Department’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget that President Barack Obama has wasted $120 billion on global warming over the past five years – money that would be better spent on the military.
“I've been working on this for quite some time ... In the last five years, between 2009 and 2014, the president has spent $120 billion on the environmental agenda, mostly global warming, climate and that type of thing,” said Inhofe. “And in that respect, if you'll just take the amount that was not authorized by Congress -- and I'm talking about the environmental agenda, you could actually buy 1,400 F-35s.”
The F-35 Lightning II, made by Lockheed Martin, is considered the world’s most advanced multi-role fighter and “will enable pilots to be six to eight times more effective in air-to-air missions, air-to ground missions and surveillance missions.” It is “first to enter the battle space, has a 360-degree view of the battlefield and is first to see adversaries and take action – allowing our pilots to carry out their missions and return home safely.”
Breaking Defense reports that Lockheed Martin’s General Manager of the F-35 Lightning II program, Lorraine Martin, estimates the Air Force version of the F-35A will cost $75 million by 2019, which will be “less than any fourth generation fighter in the world.”
The Navy plans to order 33 fewer F-35s than originally planned over the five years beginning fiscal year 2015, because of budgetary pressures, and the Air Force is deferring orders for four F-35 models in FY2015, Reuters reported. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the total number of F-35s might be scaled back even further if automatic budget cuts set to resume in FY 2016 are not revoked.
The FY 2015 budget cuts would reduce the military to pre-World War II levels – “the first budget to fully reflect the transition [the Defense Department] is making after 13 years of war,” Hagel said, warning that the military “will assume additional risk in certain areas,” including training and maintenance. Should major conflicts break out in several places at once, the military would be stretched thin, he added.
“And I think people need to understand that there's a price we're paying for all these agendas that have been rejected by Congress,” Inhofe said. He told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on the weekend edition of “Washington Watch” that Obama has “denigrated our military to the point where we're not the force we were at one time.”