23 November 2011

Budget Axe Shooting Down Blue Angels?

Will the military's demonstration teams, like the Navy Blue Angels, take the hit for the inability of Congress to get a budget deal done?

The Navy's Blue Angels have been thrilling audiences for more than six decades with their acrobatic flying in fighter planes, but a new era of federal budget worries and proposed deficit cutting has some inside and outside the military raising questions about the millions it costs to produce their shows.
Some want the popular shows grounded and some readers of the Air Force Times newspaper — most of them active or retired service members — recently listed eliminating the Blue Angels and similar programs as one way to cut defense spending.
The Pentagon spends $37 million for the Blue Angels, whose mission is to enhance recruiting for the Navy and Marines and to be their public goodwill ambassador. That's a fraction of the Pentagon's $926 billion annual budget, but that's not the point, critics say. They argue that lots of smaller programs will have to be eliminated to meet required spending reductions.
Automatic cuts triggered by the collapse of the debt supercommittee in Washington this week combined with spending reductions previously hammered out by President Barack Obama and Congress mean that the Pentagon would be looking at nearly $1 trillion in cuts to projected spending over 10 years.
The Air Force's Thunderbirds and the Army's Golden Knights paratroopers also perform big public shows.

By: Brant

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