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!
In January we reported that the U.S. Navy was preparing the first monohull designed LCS 1 (littoral combat ship) USS Freedom (in contrast to the trimaran design LCS 2 USS Independence) for its first deployment. This was welcome news considering the bevy of mechanical issues that had cropped up during sea trials in 2011.
Of course, on the eve of that deployment the roughly 3,000 ton combat ship was blasted in a report issued by the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation. A report that concluded the USS Freedom is "not expected to be survivable" in combat and unable to
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
Two different news items - but each frustratingly related to the other. In both we are reminded yet again how fundamentally bankrupt the process is by which this nation produces and procures weapons systems for its armed forces.
In one article we find yet again that the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces is out to lunch and failing dismally in its oversight role.