The US deficit, and its related total debt, are awesome worries.
Military outlays need to be reviewed, by qualified analysts who have not bought into the climate of continuing to clothe the emperor in nothing. Those outlays that are not “worth the expenditure of scarce taxpayer resources” in the military program need to be “cut”.
Naval Open Source Intelligence reports:
“Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn on Thursday [21 Jan 10] underscored the Pentagon’s commitment to Lockheed Martin Corp’s $300 billion F-35 fighter jet, saying the U.S. government and its allies still planned to buy 3,000 of the new fighters over time.
“We are heavily investing in the F-35. A successful Joint Strike Fighter is at the heart of our continued air superiority,” Lynn told industry and military officials at a conference hosted by Tufts University and the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis.”
The pentagon’s commitment, like a drunken sailor, is toward the $300B for lockheed and the $600B in sustainment costs that the fighter jet represents. The relationship between air superiority and the common defense is not the issue. What does an airplane which cannot be built on time, pass its test and evaluation, and cannot be kept flying have to contribute to “air superioriity”?
“Heavily invested” means we need to throw good money after bad.
What is important about “air superiority“?
The last airplane “at the heart of air superiority” with these issues was the F-22 (Lockheed, too). For the original price of 800 F-22 the Air Force received 183. For huge maintenace costs the “mission availability” is running 62%. Mission availability is tracked at the flying units. The total availability of F-22 airframes is half are broke at any time, because many airplanes are off the units property books. These are really hard broke and the ones being refitted to fix scrap and rework problems that were found in test but since there is no relation between air superiority and these fighters they can buy the airplane and try to fix them after they are paid for.
If the F-35 were being purchased in a free market in a commercial contract the thing would have been terminated for breach and the judge would have awarded the buyer all their money back.
We must establish rules, which used to exist, that all contracts by the DoD be reveiwed for the value to the taxpayer, not for the money going off to Lockheed or Boeing or Northrop Grumman.
What sense to keep companies in business who cannot develop the F-35?
Air superiority is endangered by bad companies, and better served by killing the F-35.
Big military contracts are all suffering from poor performance from the big vendors.
The F-35 is the most recent and the one where the adminsitration needs to stand tall.