There are many wasteful spending projects that take away needed funds for the Air-Sea Battle concept marketed by the Pentagon. The following is a list of items that work against the Air-Sea Battle concept.
1. The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The LCS is a disaster in the making. It is taking food from the mouths of Navy programs that actually work and provide real combat value.
2. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The F-35 (by design) will not be able to take on emerging threats. It is too expensive to use for any other kind of threat already taken care of by today's platforms.
3. DDX-Zumwalt "Destroyer". The best thing to do with this program would be to cut the losses and scrape it now. It will be too expensive to operate; consumes crew that could be better used elsewhere. It is not especially difficult to sink. We should not't make our ships so expensive least we lose one.
4. Kill the new long range bomber concept in its current dream-form. It will be (surprise) unaffordable and unsurvivable against modern IADS ("integrated" being the most important word).
5. Retire cruisers. They consume manpower and resources best used for other needed missions and only provide a juicy target in a big war. They are too expensive to operate in lower threat environments.
6. End U.S. participation in NATO. World War II is long over. The Soviet threat is long gone. NATO consumes too much money best used for other things. With this comes the removal of U.S. forces from Europe.
Where money needs to be invested to support the Air-Sea Battle concept:
1. A new long range bomber, but built to be: a. Drop stand-off weapons vs. anti-access threats; b. Have reasonable self-defense jamming against legacy threats. c. Be highly useful against low-end threats (range and persistence); d. Be built using common airliner technology.
2. Invest in an all nuclear-powered carrier strike group. This, while expensive, will lower the operational stress on fossil-fuel logistics. This means the need for a nuclear powered destroyer. The weapons systems it uses should be based on proven technology. A one-for-one mimic of Burke-class weapons-systems would be fine.
Remember those days?
3. Invest in conventional, small AIP submarines. These would have limited use but they would free up the nuke-subs for other missions only they can do. Conventional subs would be based out of Japan, Korea, Australia, Guam, Hawaii and would even see deployments out of the Philippines. So, given transit and down-time, about 60 would be useful.
4. Refurbish and field more P-3 Orions. The P-8 will be useful but will not be a perfect replacement for the P-3. Have both platforms compliment each other and not compete. In addition, P-3s are also already established as useful COIN-ISR helpers. Retiring the P-3 leaves a few holes in capability.
5. Bring back the S-3 to the carrier air wing; both for ASW and ISR work.
6. Every C-130 (no matter the service) that does general trash-hauling work in the Pacific needs to be Harvest Hawk capable. The C-17 does (and will continue to do so) take a lot of business away from C-130s. When using the C-130 for what it best does; best to have it multi-functional capable so as to be flexible.
7. Qualify the Tomahawk Block-IV on the B-52 and new long-range bomber. This weapon is already established in the Navy battle network and gives more joint flexibility than JASSM.
8. Do more deployments to the Philippines and Australia. This sends a message to the communists and their political fan-base abroad. Add to that; more joint routine exercises throughout the Pacific Rim.
9. Do routine (like #8, this takes extra ops funding) drive-bys of carrier battle groups through the South China Sea. As a message. This problem has to be nipped in the bud today. A strong position from the U.S. on this would be helpful.
10. USMC fast-jet air will only be Super Hornet Block IIs. No hand-me-downs. Every 4th jet squadron that rides on a carrier will be USMC with 2-seat Super Hornets.
11. Take a harder line on North Korea. The message should be: step out of line and it is a matter for the JDAM-party committee. This includes bullying all naval and air traffic in and out of the NK. "Excuse me sir. Do you know why I pulled you over? Your tail-light does't work. Would you mind stepping out of the car? I have to conduct a safety check."
That of course is not everything but it is a start. It sure beats platitude and faith-based ideas which can only lead to major war.