Tag Archives: Pentagon

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.”

Federal officials worried about F-35 jet boondoggle; Wisconsinites should be as well

Cap Times Editorial link |  19 May 2021

 

“The authoritative publication Defense News reported late last month that key members of Congress are objecting to proposals to increase funding for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 joint strike fighters in the upcoming fiscal 2022 budget. They say they will not support any increase until the Pentagon and the manufacturer address what Defense News refers to as “a laundry list of problems” with the planes.

Defense News – F-35 in the crosshairs

Defense News: more on F-35

Officials in Wisconsin should be paying close attention to the growing debate over the F-35 boondoggle, as the U.S. Air Force plans to station a squadron of F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field in Madison.

There is a lot of opposition to that move in Madison, especially from residents of the Eken Park neighborhood, which is located not far from Truax. But people who don’t live anywhere near that east-side neighborhood over which the planes would fly should also be concerned about the prospect of basing these messed-up planes in Madison.

Noting the many problems with the planes, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, the California Democrat who leads the defense readiness subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, said in April, “The program is over budget. It fails to deliver on promised capabilities. And its mission capability rates do not even begin to meet the service thresholds.”

Stop Using China as an Excuse – CNN’s Fareed Zackaria

It’s not often we can look to corporate mainstream media for facts on Foreign Policy.  This one must have slipped through the CIA filter.

 

Washington Post Opinion : Opinion: The Pentagon is using China as an excuse for huge new budgets

March 18, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. CDT

“On the eve of his visit this week to Asia, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin outlined his key concern. “China is our pacing threat,” he said. He explained that for the past 20 years, the United States had been focused on the Middle East while China had been modernizing its military. “We still maintain the edge,” he noted, “and we’re going to increase the edge going forward.” Welcome to the new age of bloated Pentagon budgets, all to be justified by the great Chinese threat.

What Austin calls America’s “edge” over China is more like a chasm. The United States has about 20 times the number of nuclear warheads as China. It has twice the tonnage of warships at sea, including 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers compared with China’s two carriers (which are much less advanced). Washington has more than 2,000 modern fighter jets compared with Beijing’s roughly 600, according to national security analyst Sebastien Roblin. And the United States deploys this power using a vast network of some 800 overseas bases. China has three. China spends around $250 billion on its military, a third as much as the United States. Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution notes that, “if China were in NATO, we would berate it for inadequate burden-sharing, since its military outlays fall well below NATO’s 2 percent minimum.”

At the height of its imperial might in the late 19th century, when it ruled a quarter of the world’s population, Britain adopted a “two-power standard” — its navy had to be larger than the next two put together. U.S. military spending remains larger than the defense budgets of the next 10 countries put together, most of which are Washington’s close allies. The United States’ intelligence budget alone — around $85 billion — is larger than Russia’s total defense spending.

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.