By Tony CapaccioTrump can do one thing to keep the status quo monsters that infect the Pentagon at bay. Reappoint Gilmore so that he can keep riding herd on the F-35. The entire defense establishment is all in on the F-35 despite it costing a king's ransom and it being so late that its no longer cutting edge.
(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration should “rigorously
and comprehensively review” Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet,
the Pentagon’s costliest program, the Defense Department’s
director of combat testing said.
Michael Gilmore, who will leave the post as testing
director when Donald Trump takes office as president next week,
cited the fighter’s “significant, well-documented deficiencies
in critical combat capabilities” in a letter Monday to House
Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry of Texas, who’s
a strong supporter of the F-35.
While Trump has tweeted that “the F-35 program and cost is
out of control,” Pentagon officials say the plane is now
essentially on schedule and close to its budget after earlier
problems. But Gilmore focused on unresolved performance issues
in the current $55 billion development phase. These must be
resolved before the aircraft can enter intense combat testing
and the eventual deployment later this decade of fully capable
Read about how Trump’s tweets reopened a Boeing-Lockheed
The Defense Department’s F-35 program office “has no plan
to adequately fix and verify hundreds of these deficiencies
using flight testing within its currently planned schedule and
resources,” Gilmore wrote. Deploying F-35s “with capable mission
systems is critical to our national security,” but the program
now “is at high risk of sacrificing essential combat
performance,” he added.
The Pentagon’s office of independent cost analysis
estimates that extending the development phase from its planned
test flight completion in September 2017 to as late as into 2020
could cost as much as $1.12 billion more. The number is
contained in the testing director’s new annual report delivered
to Pentagon leaders and lawmakers late Monday.
The program office has said completing the phase will
require about $530 million extra and acknowledges it may slip to
Gilmore’s annual report contains a 62-page assessment of
the program that’s a detailed primer for the incoming
administration on deficiencies that include software, weapons
accuracy, aircraft-carrier launching, the diagnostic system and
If Trump keeps him then that's a serious blow to the program and will keep the futurists that sold us and several other countries this bill of goods on edge.
What kills me is that the program office is (if Gilmore is right) about to saddle our forces and those of our allies with a half finished fighter...The Defense Department’s F-35 program office “has no plan to adequately fix and verify hundreds of these deficiencies using flight testing within its currently planned schedule and resources,” Gilmore wrote. This is damning and should land several general officers in jail. History will not be kind to the supporters of this program.