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Denuding American power: Misguided missile cuts

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Friday, March 28, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

If the Obama administration has its way regarding two time-tested naval missiles, U.S. warships might as well run up white flags.

For fiscal year 2015, the administration would cut the Tomahawk program, which produces one of the world's most advanced cruise missiles, by $128 million and, for fiscal 2016, eliminate it. Tomahawk acquisitions would be cut by nearly half, to 100, in 2015 — and to zero in 2016, virtually ensuring depletion of the Navy's Tomahawk stock by around 2018, budget documents show.

The Navy also would have to stop acquiring Hellfire missiles in 2015. And all this is proposed despite the critical roles these missiles have played in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans — and despite their proven, continuing capacity to deter aggression and project U.S. power abroad.

The administration wants to shift funding to the still-experimental Long Range Anti Ship Missile, which The Washington Free Beacon says “has underperformed when tested” and run up “extremely expensive development costs” — and which experts say is as least 10 years away from battle readiness.

Seth Cropsey, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for American Seapower, says the decision “really moves the U.S. away from a position of influence and military dominance.”

No doubt North Korea, China and Iran gleefully anticipate a U.S. Navy deprived of credible missile capabilities — as do terrorists seeking to cripple the global economy, which depends on our Navy to guarantee free sea access worldwide. Congress cannot allow the Obama administration to further weaken America's defenses.

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