Do Defenses Need Mending?
Bender and Smothers,
A REP and a DEM,
Discussed our defense
On Fart Forum one P.M.
Says Smathers, "We're weak?'
Says Bender, "We're strong!"
On "both sides''' of defense,
Who's right, anil who'I wrong?
Do political consideration! influence decisions in the Defense Department lo the detriment
of our national welfare as has been charged by former Chief of Staff General Matthew
Ridgeway? The conflicting opinions of Senator George A. Smathers (D-Fla.), shown at
right above, and Senator George H. Render (R-Ohio), left, on a recent Facts Forum
program point to the danger of a partisan approach regarding our national defense needs.
Si \ v toh Sm v niiais: I wish vv itb all
my heart that I could say that
our current defense program
offers national security, but the weight
of provable evidence indicates a
creeping deterioration in our defense
position. We have fallen behind tbe
Soviet in the development of the intercontinental guided missiles, and it appears now that we arc in grave danger
of losing the contest for air superiority
and even for technical superiority on
Meantime, on several fronts about
the world, the Communists have
launched the big push to grab the
British overseas bases upon which our
medium-range striking power is almost totally dependent. This renewed
aggressive attitude of the Communists
is testimony to the decline of our relative position in defense. If the free
world's overseas bases fall our striking
power disappears, because our principal air weapon at this point is the
medium bomber, the B-47. This
bomber must have land bases within
range of the Soviet Union for successful operation.
Moreover, our supply of long-range
intercontinental bombers is pitifully
inadequate. The main long-distance
bomber is still the lumbering B-36.
The new b-o2 jet bomber would meet
flic need if produced on a large scale,
but we have only a handful of I!-5l!'s
and an extremely limited production
schedule which sees some seventeen
being produced each month. These
are the specific of our problem in air
power — a problem which forms the
basis of General Nathan Twining's recent Statement that Russia has (and I
quote him) "long since passed us" in
the quantity of our air power, and is
now rapidly narrowing the United
Stales margin of superiority in the
quality of their planes.
While intercontinental missiles afford an alternative field to develop
this long-range striking power which
is so essential to deter aggression, in
this field, too, the United States effort
is sadly lagging. Trevor Gardner, the
chief of research for the Air I'1'1'
resigned just a few days ago in l"1'
test against foo little attention and t"1
little money for the development
the intercontinenal ballistics miss'1'
Added cause for concern about lj
Search has been provided by G
Twining (who, of course, is the Ch"
of Staff of the Air Force) when '"
said that the Soviet is greatly incn';1\
ing its research and development ' ,
forts. And then Genera] Twins
warned, "It i.s apparent that thev *J
putting more money and more i]V}
into this battle of the laboratories t'1
is the United Stales."
Both Genera] Twining and the
Force Secretary, Mr. Quarles. li;1\,
tagged fins current Air force budfr
by saving that it is indeed auste1'
What an admission coming dii''c' '
from the chiefs of the air power the1
selves! Indeed, these are no timeSi
seems to inc. for austerity in our ''
tional security program.
At sea, too, it seems to me that "^
defense posture is not all tha'
Facts Fohum News, August, 1™