The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. It’s been plagued by schedule delays, gross cost overruns, and a slew of underwhelming performance reviews. Last month the Air Force declared its variant “ready for combat,” and most press reports lauded this as a signal that the program had turned a corner. But a memo issued from the Pentagon’s top testing official, based largely upon the Air Force’s own test data, showed that the Air Force’s declaration was wildly premature.
Sorry for the break. It has been a busy summer, but you can now expect a return to regular blogging and articles. To get back into the swing of things I just wanted to highlight for you once more why I fear the US military's position as the planet's dominant military power is slipping to something less (a topic I discussed in my last post before my summer vacation). The labor day celebration of this nation's industrial strength is upon us, so in beginning to answer this question let's focus on perhaps our nation's foremost weapons manufacturer: Lockheed Martin.
Another Memorial Day has come and gone, and I'm feeling a bit more melancholic than usual. That's for a number of reasons, including an old one: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It appears that many of the things I was very much afraid of happening are coming to pass as a result of the F-35'sbloatedimpact on the defense budget. And this means one thing. The troops are taking it on the chin.
Don't believe me? Several seemingly unrelated news items are demonstrating quite clearly the cracks in the thin facade of U.S. military might. First comes the news that the U.S.
Inside-the-Beltway wisdom holds that the $1.4 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is too big to cancel and on the road to recovery. But the latest report from the Defense Department’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) provides a litany of reasons that conventional wisdom should be considered politically driven propaganda. The press has already reported flawed software that hinders the ability of the plane to employ weapons, communicate information, and detect threats; maintenance problems so severe that the F-35 has an “overdependence” on
Hardly a week goes by without either the Pentagonitself or some establishment figure bemoaning the fiscal cliff deal and sequester whose cuts to the military budget began in 2013. Media outlets amplify and blindly parrot these dire warnings regarding the U.S. military's ability to keep America safe if the sequester cuts are not rolled back.
But how bad have these cuts really been?
A recent look at the numbers suggests not bad at all.
For instance, according to the Government Printing Office the original 2011 Budget Control Act (popularly known as the fiscal cliff deal) promulgated cuts of
With the likely impending passage of the recent budget deal the Department of Defense continues to squeal about the inadequacy of a funding level of $572.6 Billion (of course this number does not include nuclear weapons costs allocated to the Department of Energy). This in spite of the fact that the Pentagon has enjoyed near record levels of funding for over a decade. So, as we slowly walk back the military budget to somewhere remotely near a version of fiscal sanity the usual suspects are coming out of the woodwork to stick it to guess who? Yes, that's right - the troops!
Today, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2014 Budget. In spite of the sequester, and under the proposed budget, the Department of Defense will actually see its funding only marginally decrease from the enacted 2012 levels - a drop of $3.9 billion leading to a $526.6 billion allocation for the Pentagon's base budget. Among the budget highlights are as follows:
$96.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations in 2013 (primarily meaning ongoing operations in Afghanistan).
$95 million to imrpove Guam's infrastructure as part of the ongoing "pivot" to Asia.
There are few things cooler than a fighter jet. Growing up, I was fascinated by, and proud of, all sorts of things about the US Military but, being a kid, few things drew my attention as did it's fighter jets. And for good reason. Be it the F-14, F-15, or F-16 each were world class and top of the line aircraft (and even today the A-10 is the best of its kind). Sure each had its teething problems, but these were resolved; and to this day the latter two are still ranked amongst the world's best and most popular aircraft.
Long time readers of this website will know that I have had, and continue
On June 14, 2012 the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its latest progress report for Congress on the most expensive weapons program in history: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Unfortunately, in spite of years of delays, including further restructuring in 2011 and 2012 the result's to date continue to be nothing short of abysmal.
For instance, the GAO has found that:
Regardless of the program development cost overruns (see below) F-35 life-cycle operating and support costs are now estimated at a whopping $1.1 trillion. This means that when comparing the Air Force's primary
A few weeks ago I posted on how the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is fast becoming the biggest boondogle in this nation's history. The primary reason for this being that (and I quote):
"The JSF program features $164 billion (give or take a few hundred million) in cost overruns over its original estimates, will deliver over 400 fewer aircraft than initially proposed, doing so years - if not decades - later than originally budgeted for, and in spite of all this the head of the program still doesn't have a clue when the aircraft will reach initial operational capability.