In a brief to reporters this week, Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lieutenant General Jon Davis revealed that more than half of Marine aircraft were down and could not fly in the month of December.

Lt. Gen. Davis cited a number of factors, specifically: maintenance costs, a shrinking budget to maintain the aircraft, and the traditionally low productivity holiday months, as reasons for the drop in operational readiness.

The Marine Corps’ primary fighter and attack aircraft is the F/A-18 Hornet, an incredibly versatile aircraft, but one that made its original debut in the early 80’s. Since then, a variety of upgraded models have expanded the capacity and longevity of the aircraft.

The F/A-18 Hornet, and other aircraft from the late 70’s and 80’s, all benefited from the huge investment made into the American military spearheaded by President Reagan. The capacity to research and bulk up our military infrastructure and technology was made possible by massive spending; arguably the reason the U.S. was able to vastly outspend the Soviets until their economic system collapsed under its own weight.