MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘cost overruns’

The US Military/Security Complex Is Destroying Both Peace and the US Economy – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on October 20, 2020

The military/security complex makes certain that no moves toward peace can succeed. Its lobbyists have succeeded in undoing all the arms control agreements reached with Russia since the 1960s.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/10/19/the-us-military-security-complex-is-destroying-both-peace-and-the-us-economy/

Paul Craig Roberts

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is a former Raytheon lobbyist and another example of President Trump’s penchant for frustrating his own policies by appointing to power people who oppose his policies.  Why does Trump think he can expect a representative of the military/security complex to help him wind down Washington’s hegemonic policeman of the world routine?

Esper is out making speeches that the military/security complex needs 5% real increase annually in order to counter Russia and China—https://news.antiwar.com/2020/10/16/esper-calls-for-more-military-spending-to-face-china-and-russia/ .  It is Washington that is aggressive toward Russia and China, not the other way around.  The military/security complex desperately needs foreign enemies in order to maximize its budget and power.  Russiagate’s purpose was to prevent Trump from removing a valuable “enemy” by normalizing relations with Russia. 

The US defense  budget could be cut in half and still be larger than the combined defense budgets of Russia and China.  China spends about half as much of its economy on defense as the US.  If Russia and China intended aggression against the US, wouldn’t you expect to see much higher spending on military?

You could make a case that US defense spending is so high because of inefficiency and enormous profits hidden in “cost overruns.”  If so, then increased real spending should come from strict budetary measures and oversight.  We should not be accepting a military spending system that cannot account for trillions of dollars and is so poorly controlled that it cannot be audited.  Will patriotic conservatives ever realize that blind support for the Pentagon allows the massive rip-off of taxpayers and the neglect of real needs all for nothing but out-sized profits of arms makers? 

The military/security complex makes certain that no moves toward peace can succeed.  Its lobbyists have succeeded in undoing all the arms control agreements reached with Russia since the 1960s.  Russia’s President Putin has made repeated offers to extend the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty, but Washington has rejected his offer out of hand.  The reason is obvious.  The corrupt puppet regime of Obama agreed to a trillion dollar increase in nuclear weapons spending, and the military/security complex means to get that money.

Be seeing you

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DOD tester’s report: F-35 is still a lemon | Ars Technica

Posted by M. C. on February 3, 2020

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/01/not-a-straight-shooter-dod-review-cites-fleet-of-faults-in-f-35-program/

The latest report on the progress of the US Defense Department’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is due out soon from the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s director for operational test and evaluation (DOT&E), Robert Behler.

Last year’s report was full of bad news. And based on Bloomberg Government’s Tony Capaccio’s early access to the new report, we know much of that bad news is still bad news. In fact, the only real good news is that there are no new major flaws in the $428 billion aircraft program reported by Behler’s team.

But the bad is still bad. For starters, the Air Force version of the F-35 can’t hit what it shoots its gun at.

There are a total of 13 Category 1 “must fix” issues still unresolved with the F-35 that stand between the program and final production. And even as the long list of less critical problems is addressed, new ones keep popping up. “Although the program office is working to fix deficiencies,” Behler wrote in the report viewed by Bloomberg, “new discoveries are still being made, resulting in only a minor decrease in the overall number.” And “many significant” issues remain to be addressed, he noted.

The report does not include data from the current round of combat testing, so even more problems may soon be added to the list.

ALIS doesn’t live here anymore

One of the major sources of problems with the F-35 program is the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS)—the software that drives maintenance and logistics for each F-35 aircraft. ALIS is supposed to intelligently drive the flow of maintenance parts, guide support crews in scheduling maintenance, and ensure the right parts get stuck in the right places. Aircraft health and maintenance action information is sent by the ALIS software in each aircraft out to the entire distributed logistical support network.

But ALIS has had some problems—including the fact that the software was not complete when Lockheed Martin began shipping aircraft, and each group of the 490 aircraft already delivered arrived with one of six different versions of the software. All of them will require extensive software retrofits when the seventh is complete, along with the other 510 or so that are expected to have been delivered worldwide by that point.

There are still 873 specific problems in ALIS and other F-35 software (down from 917 in 2018). In fact, the DOD has announced it will replace ALIS outright, eventually.

And those have been a contributor to the F-35 fleet’s poor reliability. According to OT&E, the overall fleet of F-35s fell far short of being 80-percent “mission capable”—meaning that they could be used in at least one type of combat mission. The Navy’s F-35C fleet “suffered from a particularly poor” mission-capable rate, the OT&E team stated.

In addition to just functional software problems, the OT&E office also reported that cybersecurity issues that had been identified in previous reports on the F-35 program had still not been resolved.

Do you even shoot, bro

While the Navy and Marine Corps versions of the F-35 may have more availability problems than the relatively less-complex Air Force F-35A, they can do at least one thing better: hit what they’re shooting at.

The F-35B and F-35C have externally mounted guns, while the Air Force’s 25-millimeter cannon is mounted internally. Problems with the alignment of the gun’s mount, and the fact that the mount occasionally cracks after the gun has fired, have made the accuracy of the gun “unacceptable,” according to test officials, and have made the Air Force restrict use of the gun. While the F-35 program office has worked on improvements of the gun mount for the F-35A, these have not yet been tested.

But none of this is really slowing down acquisition of the F-35—now the most expensive DOD weapons program in history. Considering that the F-35 was originally supposed to be the “low” in the “high-low mix“—with the F-22 being the more capable aircraft—the huge cost overruns and flaws make the F-35 look increasingly like the world’s most expensive lemon.

 

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