January 7, 2011
As in any year, there are winners and losers in the 2012 Pentagon budget announced yesterday. The Defense Department plans to buy more Reaper unmanned drones, but the Marine Corps’ short takeoff and landing version of the F-35 was put on two-year “probation,” and may not happen at all. Pretty standard budget politics.
Anyone lamenting cuts to the Pentagon’s $553 billion request might be interested in this perspective from exactly a century ago (the February 1911 issue of Aeronautics magazine):
“The House of Representatives passed, on January 18, an appropriation of $125,000 for army aeronautics. Hurrah!
It was a complete surprise, worked neatly as an amendment at the last moment by [James Robert] Mann of Illinois. He is not a member of the military committee at all, but he was loaded with a lot of good aeronautic dope and put the thing through just right in the face of some small opposition from Fitzgerald of New York and Helm of Tennessee, neither of whom knew a flying machine from a threshing machine. They were naturally all at sea and Mann was there with the goods. This means, of course, that the signal corps will be able to do something during the coming summer. They have not yet picked out the machines they will get or where they will put them.”
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