Beginning to feel the pinch? Be nice if Crab Air had this many planes to cut back?! Carrier and jets to go in Bush defence cutbacks By Alec Russell in Washington (Filed: 31/12/2004) America will retire one of its aircraft carriers and scale back plans to build a new generation of fighter jets as part of its first cuts in military spending since the September 11 attacks, it was reported yesterday. The Pentagon budget has mushroomed in the past three years, increasing by more than a third to about $420 billion (Â£220 billion) this year. Much of the money is funding the deployment of 150,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, said to be costing America about $5 billion a month. Grounded: 100 F/A 22 Raptors are to be cut But President George W Bush is now under mounting pressure on Capitol Hill to rein in the budget deficit that surged in his first term, contributing to the dramatic decline of the dollar. Many Republicans believe he is abandoning the party's tradition of fiscal discipline. The White House is reported to have asked all branches of the federal government to prune spending requests for the 2006 fiscal year which will be presented to Congress early next year. According to the New York Times, the Pentagon has proposed a $60 billion cut in spending over the next six years. The most high-profile victim would be the navy, although Pentagon officials stressed that all the services would be affected. If Congress approves the economies, the aircraft carrier John F Kennedy would be taken out of service next year, the newspaper said. It is one of the oldest of the 12 carriers, first saw service in 1968 and recently completed a mission in the Gulf. Plans for a new destroyer may be delayed and there is also a proposal to reduce expenditure on a new amphibious landing ship for the marines. The navy had planned to buy five LPD-17 San Antonio-class vessels for more than $1 billion each. The air force's F/A22 Raptor fighter would begin to lose funding after 2008. This would mean 160 to 170 would be built, rather than the 277 the service had hoped for. The army will win in the spending review. While other services are being trimmed, the army is planning to increase its strength by up to about a dozen brigades over the next few years. "It doesn't matter if you can win a war 20 years from now if we lose the global war on terror next year," the Times quoted one US military official as saying. Eric Ruff, a Pentagon spokesman, refused to comment on specific cuts, adding that nothing was definite until the budget was submitted in February. But he fuelled speculation that some of the older high-technology weapons systems were under threat in the countdown to next year's four yearly defence review. The defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has long regarded them as costly relics of the Cold War. Mr Ruff said all services were considering their priorities and how best to focus on agility, flexibility and speed. These were three of the watchwords of Mr Rumsfeld's desired "transformed" defence force.