December 1, 2005  

To Sens. James Talent and Joseph Lieberman

For adding an amendment to the defense authorization bill recommending that the Air Force purchase additional C-17 cargo aircraft. The C-17 buy has been artificially capped at 180 aircraft — despite the newly and allegedly “expeditionary” mindset the Pentagon has embraced and despite the experience of Afghanistan and Iraq. During the past decade, the Air Force and the Joint Staff have produced a series of “mobility studies” that reinforced this fiction. Alas, the amendment, allowing the purchase of up to 222 C-17s, has no budgetary impact, but it is an expression of the fact that these studies have no credibility.