Category Archives: Military

Lockheed’s F-35, The United States of Amnesia & War Profiteering

Video : Project on Government Oversight : The F-35 in 2 Minutes

The point and the goal of the US government is to enrich the ruling elite, those in the 1% of the 1% who continue to consolidate wealth.

When your legislators are unable to achieve the most basic tasks, remember what their real purpose is.  When our presidents fail at most everything but enriching the biggest bank owners, some of the richest people on the planet, realize their purpose.  When the courts give what you think is justice largely to a bunch of old white guys, know what they are doing.

We do not have a quality healthcare system for our people. Our public schools and other commons are constantly under attack by those who want to steal those assets. We have a huge problem where worker wages are stolen, we haven’t enough food that makes it into the mouths of our children, the government can’t enforce laws on the powerful…

But the US can drop a bomb on anyone at anytime, and once in a while it might be a bad guy.

 


The F-35 and Other Legacies of Failure – Dan Grazier

 

“For 20 years, the Pentagon’s program to develop the F-35 aircraft appeared invincible, even as the project hit repeated delays and went well over budget. And then, just within the span of a few weeks, official support for the F-35 has seemingly evaporated. It could not come soon enough.

At the end of the Trump administration, the acting secretary of defense called it a “piece of…” The Air Force chief admitted the F-35 would never be able to live up to its original purpose. And now, the chair of the House Armed Services Committee said we should stop throwing money down the F-35 “rathole.”

This all comes as the program is rightfully on a list of programs facing a Pentagon review that could result in recommended cuts to the total number of aircraft to be purchased. It signals a tectonic shift in support for a program that previously received near universal official support from the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill.

This shift is due to the sudden realization in Washington, despite years of warnings, that the F-35 is too challenging and costly to maintain.

And if there are to be major changes to the F-35 program, now is the time to do it. Otherwise, if the program does manage to squeak through operational testing, Congress could then authorize a bulk purchase of F-35s, something the program office and the manufacturer have wanted for years. But even if the plane is technically deemed operational, such a move would saddle the services with hundreds of flawed, high-maintenance aircraft, which will depress readiness rates, further strain the already harrowed maintenance crews, and require years of costly retrofits.

At the very least, further production should be halted until the program completes operational testing. Testing continues to reveal design flaws in the F-35 —at last count in January, there were 871 of them which is only two fewer than the year before. Until the testing process is complete and engineers work through solutions to these problems, the F-35s purchased now will be built with these flaws, and then later require extensive and expensive modifications later on to fix problems that have yet to be revealed in the testing process.

The usual suspects in the defense industry have responded forcefully to the threat to the program on which they have staked their future. They are arguing that the services need to purge themselves of older, so-called “legacy” systems—the typical argument made by defense contractors to make sure there is little choice but to purchase new weapons from them.

But there is nothing inherently wrong with older aircraft. As long as they are maintained properly, a well-designed aircraft can provide useful service for decades. The B-52 is an excellent example. There are even 172 DC-3 airliners that debuted in 1935 that are still flying and making money for their owners.

Pentagon leaders are right to review troubled programs, and they shouldn’t allow a program to drag on for 20 years before doing so. And if the Pentagon’s budgeteers want to make cuts, they shouldn’t start with weapons like the F-16 and A-10 that continue to prove their worth in combat. Air Force chief General Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. said recently that capabilities and not age should be the central question of any review. “I really think about it from a capability perspective. Is that capability going to be relevant today, relevant tomorrow? And if it’s not going to be relevant tomorrow or it’s going to be, you know, overly expensive to make it relevant for tomorrow” it needs to be retired.

The F-35 is the poster child for programs that are too expensive to be made relevant for the future. It should have been canceled more than a decade ago with its 2009 Nunn-McCurdy breach when the development and procurement costs doubled. Cutting it off now could save about $200 billion just in acquisition costs.

Along those same lines, the Pentagon would have saved billions by killing off the “legacy of failure” programs like the Littoral Combat Ship and Zumwalt-class destroyers when it first became apparent that they were falling far short of expectations. Taxpayers paid $30 billion for a versatile class of small surface ships with the Littoral Combat Ship program. What they got was a fleet of fragile boats that can’t perform many of the roles for which they are intended, with four of them already on their way to being mothballed. The Navy is spending more than $23 billion on the Zumwalt program, a ship design that failed to perform its originally intended role.

Uniform and civilian military officials need to be reminded that it is not the end of the world to kill a new program. In 2011, the Marine Corps cancelled the troubled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle after sinking $3 billion into the program because of spiraling costs and technological failures. After a reset, the service developed the far simpler Amphibious Combat Vehicle for a fraction of the cost.

Spending our grandchildren into poverty pursuing unworkable technological boondoggles is not the right way to compete with our potential adversaries. In all matters military, the simplest possible tools are always the most effective. Decision makers in Congress and the Pentagon should be far more skeptical when defense contractors make lavish claims about technology they haven’t yet demonstrated and have the courage to stop programs when it becomes obvious they are failing.”

Cap Times: F-35 Project is the Military-industrial Complex at its Worst

John Nichols  |  September 17, 2019

Original Editorial

 

“Let’s review some headlines from the past several years regarding Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, shall we?

From Fortune magazine: “Pentagon Report: The F-35 Is Still a Mess.”

From Scientific American: “What Went Wrong with the F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter? The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired but has turned out to be one of the greatest boondoggles in recent military purchasing history.”

From Popular Mechanics: “WTF-35: How the Joint Strike Fighter Got to Be Such a Mess: The story of the F-35, and what went wrong to put the Joint Strike Fighter so far over budget and behind schedule.”

From National Interest: “The F-35 Is a $1.4 Trillion Dollar National Disaster.”

From Defense News: “The Pentagon is battling the clock to fix serious, unreported F-35 problems.”

From Americans for Tax Reform: “The F-35 is a ‘big government’ disaster in its worst form.”

From the Foundation for Economic Education: “The F-35 Project Has Been a Disastrous Waste of Money: A cherished Pentagon boondoggle, the F-35 program is the most expensive weapons system in history.”

The list goes on. And on. And on. The F-35 project, which a New York Times report recently referred to as “arguably the most notorious weapon ever produced,” is such a fiasco that former acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan reportedly referred to the Lockheed Martin program that developed it as “f—ed up.” That got Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, in hot water, so the Pentagon’s inspector general stepped in to examine whether the acting secretary was unfairly biased against a project developed by a competing cog in the military-industrial complex.

No, the inspector general determined, Shanahan did not display undo bias when he referred to the F-35 program as “f—ed up,” and complained about how frequently the planes were grounded. He was just repeating the common thinking at the Department of Defense. According to www.military.com, “that sentiment appears to be widespread among Pentagon leaders. Witnesses said his comments about the F-35 program are consistent with those made by other defense leaders, the report states.”

Michael Gilmore, the director of operational testing and evaluation for the Pentagon, was particularly blunt. “The F-35,” he said, “is an extreme example of optimistic, if not ridiculous, assumptions about how a program would play out.”

So where might this turkey land? At Madison’s Truax Field. The prospect has stirred significant opposition locally, especially since a draft environmental impact statement released by the Air Force determined that bringing the National Guard’s F-35 Fighter Squadron to town would subject almost 2,800 people to substantially increased noise levels — with an average sound level of 65 decibels or more. Some areas near the airport would become “incompatible for residential use,” according to the report. With substantial spending to mitigate against the increased noise, homes in and around those areas might be made livable. But the questions of how decisions regarding mitigation will be made and what guarantees will be given Madisonians remain unresolved.

Proponents of the F-35 project remain enthusiastic about it, suggesting it could produce as many as 65 new jobs — and, potentially, secure the future of the Truax facility. But state Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, said, “I just really question (whether 64 or 65 jobs are) really worth it to displace people. Is it really worth it to disrupt the quality of life for these people?”

Thousands of Madisonians are answering “no” because of concerns about the potential displacement and disruption that the military admits could be associated with the plan to base F-35s in the city. But even if the planes were silent, there’s a strong case to be made against linking Madison’s future with this F-35 fiasco.

Just last week, Defense News reported that the F-35 program — as well as the F-22 — “will not meet an 80 percent mission-capable rate requirement set by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.” Proponents of the F-35 project keep claiming things are getting better, arguing that Lockheed Martin is finally getting its act together. But, by too many measures, it remains the mess that the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was talking about during one of the last hearings he chaired while serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The F-35 program’s record of performance has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance,” said McCain. “It’s a textbook example of why this committee has placed such a high priority on reforming the broken defense acquisition system.”

Wisconsin has a rich tradition of objecting to the absurd excesses of the military-industrial complex. It goes back a century to when former Sen. Robert M. La Follette warned his constituents to be wary of “gentlemen interested in war as a business.” Former Sen. William Proxmire became famous for identifying excessive and irresponsible Pentagon spending with his Golden Fleece awards. Former Sen. Gaylord Nelson led Senate battles against unnecessary weapons systems. And former Sen. Russ Feingold worked with McCain to identify and address abuses by military contractors — including, notably, Lockheed Martin.

Objecting to the waste, fraud and abuse that is perpetuated by the military-industrial complex that former President Dwight Eisenhower identified is a Wisconsin tradition. La Follette laid the marker down long ago, declaring that we should always guard against “the tide of sentiment that, under the guise of patriotism, is actually based on commercial greed.”

The F-35 project is an example of commercial greed at its most indefensible. It has no place in Madison or anywhere else in Wisconsin.”

We Must Rethink Drone Warfare

VIGIL FOR PEACE Mondays Noon-1p Corner MLK Jr. Blvd. & Doty St. Madison City-Cty. Bldg. WK 1650 11.18.2019

 

Volk Field ANGB, Camp Douglas, WI trains personnel to operate the RQ-7 Shadow Drone, used for reconnaissance, surveillance, and acquisition integral to U. S. Drone Warfare. Albeit unwittingly, Wisconsin taxpayers support these illegal, immoral actions with our tax dollars.

We must rethink drone warfare.

 

Andrew J. Bacevich Jr. (born July 5, 1947) is an American historian specializing in international relations, security studies, American foreign policy, and American diplomatic and military history.

Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University. Before joining the faculty of Boston University, he taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins University. Read posts on BillMoyers.com written by Andrew Bacevich.


Volk Field ANGB, Camp Douglas, WI

Seven peace activists walked onto the base at Volk Field at noon on Tuesday, November 12, wearing black veils, carrying limp dolls and posters of children killed by drones. They were
arrested by Juneau County officers, handcuffed and taken to the station in Mauston, where they
were booked and cited for trespassing and released.

 

Joy First: Seven Arrested Mourning Children Killed By Drones

 

Statement read on the grounds of Volk Field ANG Military Base, November 12, 2019 

by Bonnie Block . Joyce Ellwanger . Joy First . Bob Graf . Jim Murphy . Phil Runkel . Brian Terrell

We come, in peace.

We come, because we mourn the children who have died from attacks by U.S. military drones. We remember these children, whose lives have been cut short while also remembering their
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and grandparents who continue to mourn the deaths of
these beautiful children.

We come, because the United States is solely responsible for the deaths of many thousands of people from drone attacks, including thousands of children who have been killed by drones.

We come, because our government covers it up, and it is impossible to really know how many innocent lives have been lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries in the Middle East and in Africa, yet the Journal for Investigative Journalism claims that between
8,000 and 12,000 people have been killed by U.S. drones.

We come, because we are causing unimaginable grief to mothers and fathers, sons and daughters whose loved ones have been murdered by the US government. We must remember that these are real people with names and families who love them.

We come, because killing with drones is a violation of human rights and international law. Drone attacks are clearly extrajudicial assassinations, going against the constitution and have
been condemned by the United Nations.

We come, because the personnel working with and training with the RQ-7 Shadow Drones at Volk Field are an integral part of and are complicit in the whole US drone warfare program.

We come, because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Towards Justice.” We want to be a part of making the arc bend towards justice. We call upon you to be part of it also.

Contact: joyfirst5@gmail.com
(Photo by Cassandra Dixon)

 

My Thoughts on Militarism – Brad Geyer

My Thoughts on Militarism:  My words at the Good Noise, Good Neighbors Festival Oct 20, 2019

We don’t need the jets. We don’t need the base.

I served for 13 years in the US military, including 9 years here at Truax Field with the 115 Fighter Wing. During my time with the Air Force, I was deployed to the Middle East to combat zones and Southwest Asia five times.

Years ago, President and General Dwight Eisenhower warned Americans about the big money of the Military Industrial Complex. Through the years this corruption has gotten worse. Over the past 50 years, big business led by entities like the Chamber of Commerce and ALEC have purchased our legislators.

There are too many lobbyists in our government. A good example of a conflict of interest is the Secretary of Defense who is a former lobbyist for Raytheon. Raytheon makes at least four components of the F-35.

The activist courts have invented law taking away our ability to regulate bribery. With the decisions leading up to Citizens United, we now have a Military Industrial Complex on steroids.

Jimmy Carter and others have stated that the US is now an oligarchy. There are a few wealthy people, the 1%, that our government is serving. [Although, we could change that tomorrow if we had the will.]

Now is the time to talk about how much military assets we have. How much we spend on war and where we want to spend our money.

We don’t seem to be having an effective discussion on these questions. Instead we have propaganda about whether we support the troops or if we love the flag. Those are games being played. Those are not valid, logical arguments relative to the situation.

According to a poll from September, most Americans want more money spent on the domestic needs of people and less spent on the Pentagon.


Defending our homes and our constitution is very important, but we could do that and spend more money on…

  • More hospitals, clinics, staff, nurses and doctors for veterans and civilians
  • Clean energy
  • Giving teachers the tools they need
  • Art and music funding
  • Heating assistance and other help for the elderly
  • Processing refugees in a more humane manner
  • Dealing more effectively with substance abuse, trauma, mental health and PTSD
  • Protecting our natural world, our air, our water, our soil

A few numbers…

This is not defense. This is empire.

Some of our children, go to schools where the textbooks are 30 years old and dilapidated, while our government is buying weapons like the F-35 for one hundred million dollars, a jet that has a windshield made of sapphire and has a helmet that cost $400,000.

I think we can have a better balance. Part of that balance is pushing for laws to be enforced instead of bombs dropping so often, and we need a government that is not out there creating enemies for Americans.

Two priorities we should have in order to achieve real progress:
We need people to be involved and informed.
We need to get the big money out and the people in.