via National Interest.
Our incoming president’s willingness to boldly challenge the status quo is arguably the main reason he was elected. And no defense project is more representative of a disastrous status quo than the 20-year-old Joint Strike Fighter program — the F-35. The F-35 program showcases all that is wrong about our military’s vendor-dominated, crony-capitalist procurement system. Unless dealt with decisively, its massive cost and its lack of capability will have a dramatically negative impact on our military’s effectiveness for decades to come.And then most especially this.
Just as Donald Trump turned out to be 100 percent correct about the bloated, $4 billion Air Force One program, he would be justified in calling foul on Marine Corps and Air Force claims that their F-35s have achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC). Contrary to recent statements made by the executive officer of the F-35 program, Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, the F-35 is not back on track. It’s time to face the facts: Because of fatal mistakes made during the conceptual design process well over 20 years ago, the F-35 will forever be crippled by intractable weight and heat issues that ensure that the program will never deliver a reliable, cost-effective fighter. Further evidence of this was revealed on Wednesday, when Inside Defense exposed the fact that the Navy’s F-35C model has design defects that can cause pilots to suffer disorientation and severe pain when undergoing carrier catapult launches. As it stands, Navy pilots have determined the F-35C is not “operationally suitable” for carrier launches. New design changes to the F-35C will be required that could take years — and even our carriers may need to be modified to fix the problem. This issue has been known about for years, but until now it has been concealed from the public. So, instead of an on-track program, what we have is a pattern of deceptive statements and actions designed to create the illusion that the F-35 program is on track. The goal of this deception is to provide the political cover necessary to allow the F-35’s supporters in Congress to continue to fund the purchase of hundreds of incomplete, combat-incapable planes — each of which will require many years and many tens of millions of dollars of structural repairs, structural rework, systems-stability and functionality fixes, engine modifications and retrofits, and more. And that is just to get the planes to where they should have been when we took initial delivery. Never before have we seen a warplane granted so many waivers and reductions in key performance standards. Never before have we taken delivery of so many planes so far from being complete and so far from being ready for combat.HERE!
This entire article makes me want to stand up and cheer. But for Marines and those that love the Corps this piece should make you pause. I've heard over and over about the leadership that I criticize being made up of good men.
They might be, but they've lied their asses off to protect this plane and they've infected the Corps with the willful deception. Worse they've used lower ranking officers and enlisted to help perpetuate that lie.
The tribe isn't stupid. They know the real deal. So do the bubbas in the Air Force and Navy. It might not be discussed publicly but the troops know when they're hearing bullshit and all we've heard is bullshit with this program.
I want the plane canned because of cost and performance...but I also want it canned so that leadership can start reclaiming a bit of moral authority that they've lost/given away to push a weapon system.
We can all point to Amos as being the start of this deceptive behavior but its been embraced across the board...and no one has stepped up to correct it. It's past time that moral courage was demonstrated at the highest level of the Marine Corps. An incoming President shouldn't be required to correct men who swore an oath to defend the nation and to live up to Marine Corps standards.