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Advantage: Senate.

Fascinating summer reading is to be found in the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Report 102-113 that accompanies the National Defense Authorization Act, FY 1992 and 1993. This brief review will touch on a few significant points.

The Congress is consistently criticized for micromanaging the DOD and this bill is no exception. Yet even though we are reading only the congressional side of the issue, the rationale appears to be entirely reasonable. One wonders how the services and OSD, with all of the Pentagon reviews and oversight, could have missed the stinging logic of the Senate.

The Senate was more astute about EW than the House Appropriations Committee. The Army aircraft survivability account increased $1.5 million for USN MJU-27 decoys. Navy common ECM equipment increased $15 million for a decision between the ALR-67 and ALR-56. The Navy EP-3 gained $15 million for a data link. Navy air expendable CM increased $5 million in 1992 and $10 million in 1993 for BOL chaff dispensers. The Marines received an unrequested $17.6 million for a J-STARS terminal and $15 million for a tactical ground intercept facility. The B-1B ALQ-161 core was cut $79.9 million and the RWR (PE 64270F) lost $9 million.

The Navy took some sharp hits. Deficiencies in minesweeping caused the Navy considerable embarrassment during the Persian Gulf war. The committee added $10 million to investigate design trade-offs her helicopter-capable mine countermeasures support ships. It added two coastal minehunting ships to shipbuilding (SCN), increased R&D by $139 million for mine countermeasures and recommended shifting management responsibility from the Navy to the Marines. An unrequested $550 million was added for maritime prepositioning ships (MPS) and MPS responsibility was also transferred from the Navy to the Marines.

The Air Force was chided for requesting 48 new F-16s and no new F-117s. The Air Force states that the F-117 is eight times more effective than the F-16. Only 16% of the F-16s were used in Desert Storm, while almost all of the F-117s were used. The price of 48 F-16s equals that for 24 F-117s. By buying F-117s instead of F-16s the committee's arithmetic predicts a $3.8 billion savings.

The committee funded four B-2s for $2.5 billion. In an eight-page dissertation the case was made for a B-2 stealth force. A comparison was made of three forces: one of conventional USAF tactical aircraft, one of F-117s and one of B-2s, on the same mission, all using precision weapons. The conventional scenario involved 55 aircraft; the F-117 called for 10 (eight -117s and two tankers). Only two B-2 bombers would be necessary for this job, the report claimed.

The committee thus extrapolated cost savings in both Air Force and Navy tactical air forces, fewer carrier battle groups, reductions in replacement Navy aircraft, fewer new tanker aircraft, reduced heavy ground forces, less sealift and airlift and practically no foreign bases. The rationale is stealth, the conclusion is startling, the liberals can be heard adding up the "stealth dividend." The hard-learned lesson of over 50 years is ignored -- for every measure there is a countermeasure, for every countermeasure there is a counter-countermeasure. The counter to stealth is yet to come, but it will. The F-117 and B-2 will not be invalidated, but we had best not have all our eggs in the stealth basket.
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Title Annotation:Senate Armed Services Committee Report 102-113
Author:Lake, Julian S.
Publication:Journal of Electronic Defense
Article Type:editorial
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Words:553
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