Please disable your Ad Blocker to better interact with this website.

  • Lawmakers Agree To $5 Billion In Defense Cuts, Leave Military Blimp JLENS Totally Untouched

    Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier is furious that the controversial JLENS military surveillance blimp, which broke loose last week and took out power lines across Pennsylvania, was not eliminated as part of the emerging defense budget deal between the White House and Congress.

    “As we cut $5 billion from the defense budget this week JLENS should be the first thing to go, but inexplicably Republicans decided it wasn’t worth eliminating,” Speier said in a statement to POLITICO. “Now is the perfect time to get rid of a ‘zombie program’ that provides no strategic value, instead of having to consider cuts to other programs that may be more justified.”

    Republicans have agreed to $5 billion in cuts from the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act as the first step to avoid earning another veto from President Barack Obama. Congress has the option Thursday to attempt an override vote, which would push through the NDAA with the addition of $5 billion in cuts. But both Thornberry and GOP Sen. John McCain are deferring to newly elected House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan on the appropriate course of action.

    House Armed Services Committee Chairman GOP Rep. Mac Thornberry insisted that legislators will work to ensure that the least amount of damage is done by these cuts.

    “We are looking at them all and trying to do the least damage, but nobody should be under the illusion that you can do this in a non-painful way,” Thornberry said, according to Defense News.  “There’s going to be pain.”

    The Long Range Strike Bomber program will receive a $230 million reduction, in addition to Army readiness funding, which was hit with a $250 million reduction. Army National Guard will also suffer cuts to readiness of $192.6 million, according to Politico. Obama’s Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund would also drop from $1 billion to $750 million.

    And although the White House has suspended the abysmal train-and-equip program for Syria, the Pentagon is shifting the program to focus on training the leaders of already-existing rebel groups. These groups will be given ammunition and possibly weapons, as well. Congress proposed a cut from $530 million to $405 million.

    But legislators spared the $3 billion Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS), a Raytheon-designed surveillance blimp which has merited serious internal criticism from the Pentagon regarding readiness and operational capacity, not to mention concern from outside privacy advocates. (RELATED: Meet The JLENS, The $3 Billion, Top Secret Blimp That Run Amok Across PA)

    Last week, the 240-foot blimp broke loose from its tether and floated into Pennsylvania, dragging behind it 6,700 feet of cables. Its erratic movements disrupted flight patterns and knocked out electricity for about 20,000 residents.

    Almost immediately, House Committee on Oversight and Government reform Chairman GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member, wrote letters to Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, asking both officials to justify JLENS as an expense to taxpayers. Carter and Foxx were given a deadline of Nov. 12 to deliver documentation. (RELATED: Lawmakers Demand That Ash Carter Give An Explanation For Rampaging Military Blimp)

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

    Powered by WPeMatico


    Surge Wire

    Breaking news and analysis from around the globe courtesy of Daily Surge.

    Join the discussion. Leave a comment.

    We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.





    Trending Now on Daily Surge

    Send this to friend