When he inherited a mess from the previous Administration, Obama began several audits, which resulted in a myriad of wasteful programs being eliminated. Some decried the cancellations, but the reduction in porcine cask spending has helped reduce the budget shortfall under Obama by close to a trillion dollars. Here are eight of those cancelled projects:
Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program began development in the late 1970′s, with the aim to replace the aging AAV-7A1 Assault Amphibious Vehicle for the primary Marine landing craft. Designed to fight an entrenched Soviet threat, the EFV was originally to be introduced into service in 1992. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the EFV ended up in a perpetual design, refinement, redesign cycle. When it was finally cancelled in the FY2012 budget, had cost the US taxpayer an estimated $15.9 billion.
In 2006 the Republican controlled Congress demanded a high-tech border fence to be built along our southern border. It was to ensure the border security of the United States by eliminating that path in by the hordes of undocumented immigrants that was being claimed were pouring in. After several years, and $1 billion invested, only 53 miles of this high technology solution were in place. And those 53 miles were filled with glitches, problems, and mishaps of all sorts. Obama quietly killed this program at the beginning of 2011. Note, undocumented immigration is now net zero. In other words, as many people are leaving as are coming in.
Nuclear Scanners In Ports
After the attacks of September the 11th, there was a large effort to secure our borders through the installation of high technology sensors in many places. One of the most touted programs was to deter terrorist attacks by the installation of sensitive scanning technologies in the ports to locate nuclear material before they could be smuggled into the country. Each scanner cost $822,000, and the program would require over 1,400 units to be installed to ensure 100% coverage, according to the original plan. The problem is, the scanners did not work. Of the two dozen alerts that were detected by the system, all of them were false alarms while the sample test units slipped by without a notice. After $1.2 billion sunk into the system, they finally pulled the plug on this pork project which secured no one.
Star Wars II
One of the more unusual items Obama inherited was Bush’s reinvented Star Wars program, which was properly 6 different programs designed with the goal of preventing a preliminary Soviet missile strike by first warning, and then shooting down the incoming ICBMs. It appears someone forgot to tell him that the Soviet Union had collapsed, and that Russia was not an enemy of the United States. While the previous administration had made claims that it was for defense against Iran, the placement of the radar control directly west of the Russian border and the defensive systems placed between the United States and Russia, not between the United States and Iran, told a very different story. Obama cancelled various portions of this, but left other, proven systems intact, moving them from Russio-centric locations to ones which would actually defend the United States from nations with known grudges against the United States, namely Iran and North Korea.
Replacement Presidential Helicopter
After more than $3 billion spent, the program to replace the helicopters which transport the President and Vice President, referred to as Marine One and Marine Two respectively, was finally cancelled in March of ’09. With a final anticipated price of $13 billion, the program had already been delayed and had its original price tag more than double in the 6 years it was in operation. Instead, the plan is to replace the aging fleet with either V-22 Osprey or CH-47 Chinook helicopters, although Boeing has discussed producing a licensed version of the AgustaWestland AW101 and Sikorsky offering to design a new helicopter, the VH-92. The results of this competition will be known either later this year or next.
The F-22 program was put into place to create one of the most advanced and capable military aircraft the world had ever seen. With cutting edge stealth technologies, it would be able to handle any enemy thrown at it. However, years late for entering service, the F-22 is listed as a flying deathtrap, already having killed two of its pilots. With a host of issues ranging from engine shutdowns to failure of the oxygen delivery system, the F-22 has cost the US taxpayer $64 billion, over the past 20 years, and it has not yet entered into combat service. Obama cancelled the continuing orders of the craft, instead focusing efforts onto its smaller, more cost-effective and safer stablemate, the F-35
In 2005, NASA began an ambitious project to deliver men back to the Moon. Flying onboard advanced rockets derived from the now cancelled Shuttle program, the Constellation program was to begin flying people to the International Space Station by June of 2009. When Obama took office, Constellation was years away from flying. Upon cancellation, the program had cost over $10 billion, and with the first moon flights over a decade away it had turned into a rocket to nowhere.
In order to maintain the troop levels up during the Iraq conflict, one of the programs put into place was termed Stop Loss. In short, a soldier at the end of his agreed service time would not be allowed to retire from the military, and instead be kept in active service. This resulted in countless tours of duty performed by soldiers who had already fulfilled their obligations to the United States, and was called a “backdoor draft” by Senator Kerry during his campaign in 2004 for President. The cost to soldiers families and lives is beyond any measure of cost or value.