By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (Dec. 13, 2006) -- During a farewell speech in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee Dec. 7, Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) said legislators must substantially increase military budgets over the coming decade if the U.S. military is to keep its edge.
"There can be no doubt that without a substantial increase in procurement spending beginning now and sustained over the next five to 10 years -- an increase, I suggest to the Senate today, that must be measured not in billions but in tens of billions of dollars above current estimates every year -- our military will be set back for a generation," said Senator Talent, the junior senator from Missouri.
Senator Talent said the increase in budget he proposes must be used to fund, among other things, new ships for the Navy, ground combat and support vehicles for the Army, and aircraft for the Air Force.
"The Air Force must buy large numbers of the (F-22 Raptor)," he said. "That is our new air-superiority fighter. We must maintain the ability to have complete air superiority over any combat theater."
The senator also said the Air Force must be funded to buy "large numbers" of F-35 Lightning II or equivalent aircraft, buy out its airlift requirement, build a new generation of tankers and design and build a long-range strike bomber to replace the B-52 Stratofortress.