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Posts Tagged ‘F-35’

Lawmakers’ Military Earmarks Are Exploding Like Fireworks | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on July 6, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/lawmaker-military-earmarks-are-exploding-like-fireworks/

Thought these congressional goodies were banned? Wait until you see the latest National Defense Authorization Act.

It’s that time of year again, when lawmakers, Pentagon officials, and observers on the sidelines quibble over what should—and should not—be in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Two weeks after the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced their version of the 2021 NDAA, the House Armed Services Committee advanced their own NDAA. Passions have been high and policymakers have tried inserting everything from base naming requirements and stricter “Buy American” provisions to (much-needed) transparency changes.

But regardless of how the House and Senate reconcile their respective NDAA versions, there’s the lingering inevitability of hundreds of earmarks worth billions of dollars being added as the legislation moves from authorization to appropriation. Typically, the earmarks range from $100,000 for research projects to billions of dollars for unrequested weapons systems. If lawmakers are serious about fixing waste, fraud, and abuse at the Department of Defense (DoD), they’ll need to keep earmarks out of the budget. It won’t be easy for Congress, but taxpayers deserve better than pet projects and endless deficits and debt.

When the media reports DoD spending figures, it’s tempting for them to focus on the topline numbers such as the fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget of $738 billion, which amounts to nearly $6,000 for each American household. Annual DoD spending has increased roughly $200 billion over the past five years, and easily matches (or exceeds) what the U.S. was spending on Defense during the Iraq War 10-15 years ago. But in the grand scheme of things, the media often neglects the disturbing trend of Congress lavishing earmarks onto the Pentagon that were never requested by DoD. Last year, for example, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance found the FY 2020 Defense bill contained an astounding 785 earmarks totaling $16.1 billion(click here for the full list).

Unsurprisingly, the top two slots on the list were taken by the F-35 program, which has an estimated lifetime cost of $1.5 trillion. Despite well-documented dysfunctions with the F-35, lawmakers threw an extra $2 billion in taxpayer money toward the ailing program. For example, the fighter jet’s sea search mode is only capable of examining a small sliver of sea surface while pilots have been complaining about barotrauma and sinus pains while onboard.

Even the supply chain for procuring parts is out-of-whack. The Government Accountability Office notes, “to keep aircraft flying despite parts shortages, from May through November 2018 F-35 squadrons cannibalized (that is, took) parts from other aircraft at rates that were more than six times greater than the services’ objective…personnel at F-35 squadrons are pulling parts off of other aircraft that are already unable to fly instead of waiting for new parts to be delivered through the supply chain.”

Despite these well-documented problems, lawmakers are all-but-certain to request more for the program than Pentagon officials say they will need.

And if the past is any guide, the volume of earmarks will continue to increase. FY 2020’s total of 785 earmarks represented a 15.6 increase from FY 2019’s total of 679 earmarks. This doesn’t seem possible, since there’s supposedly been a ban in place on earmarks since 2011. But lawmakers have ignored the ban and just gotten sneakier, cobbling vague language into bills that doesn’t (strictly speaking) benefit their districts.

But when situations arise such as Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) securing hundreds of millions of dollars for body armor production, taxpayers can’t help but wonder if the funding serves the country, 3M (which is based in Saint Paul, Minnesota), or Rep. McCollum’s reelection bid.  Body armor is undoubtedly important, but a competitive grants process (not earmarks) would be the best way to ensure money is spent wisely.

Clearly, a ban on earmarks hasn’t been enough to deter the self-serving behavior that sows mistrust of Washington, D.C. So, it’s up to lawmakers, taxpayers, and advocacy organizations to call out this behavior and hold members of Congress accountable for wasteful spending. And with the 2020 federal deficit approaching $4 trillion, it’s more important than ever to end these shenanigans. Policymakers shouldn’t let all the intrigue on Capitol Hill get in the way of discipline and accountability.

Ross Marchand is the Vice President of Policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. 

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The Space Force’s Real Mission: Wasting Taxpayer Dollars | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on June 10, 2020

The real reason the Space Force was created was to make it easier for contractors to sell things to the government. This acquisition program supports that effort.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-space-forces-real-mission-wasting-taxpayer-dollars/

They’re already attempting to skirt spending rules for acquisitions. That’s all part of the plan.

Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman (R), Space Force and Command Senior Enlisted Leader and CMSgt Roger Towberman (L), with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett present US President Donald Trump with the official flag of the United States Space Force in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on May 15, 2020. (Photo by Samuel Corum-Pool/Getty Images)

Back in 2018, when the Space Force was being formed, I warned that the new service would likely seek exemptions from existing regulations governing acquisition, arguing that looser rules would be necessary to keep up with technological development. I hate to say that my warning was pretty prescient.

The newly created United States Space Force wasted little time in attempting to skirt the rules governing how it spends taxpayer money. The service submitted a report last week to Congress that requested the creation of an “Alternative Acquisition System for the U.S. Space Force,” justifying the proposal with lots of jargon: “The U.S. must maintain a strategic advantage in space through both a space-focused military service and a space-tailored acquisition system that rapidly leverages these new industry dynamics.” These policies will hinder Congress’s ability to conduct oversight and result in more money wasted on dubious systems.

In one of the proposed changes, Space Force leaders want to create budget lines for broad mission categories rather than allocated funding for specific programs. In practice, this would mean that instead of asking Congress for funding for a single communications satellite program, as is the current practice for virtually all acquisitions, the Space Force would have a block of money allocated for all communications programs. So Space Force bureaucrats would be able to shift money from one program to another without Congress’s approval.

The real reason the Space Force was created was to make it easier for contractors to sell things to the government. This acquisition program supports that effort.

We’ve seen this before—it is precisely the same reason that the United States Air Force gained its service independence from the Army in 1947. The airmen of that day and their allies in the aviation industry hated having to gain the approval of the non-flyer Army leaders before they could undertake pet projects. Having a separate service meant they had control over their own budget.

Back then, airmen did at least believe their new service could win wars independent of the existing military. Although their theories had already been proven false through massive experimentation during World War II, the Air Force’s quest for service independence was underpinned by a warfighting rationale. The Space Force doesn’t even offer that much.

One of the most vocal proponents for the new service is Representative Mike Rogers. In a speech to the 2017 Space Symposium, he spoke extensively about the low priority the other services placed on space-related programs when drawing up their budgets as the principal reason for creating a new service. Representative Jim Cooper also worked hard on the Space Force’s behalf, but is now somehow surprised by the site selection process for its headquarters. “The vision that Rep. Mike Rogers and I had for the Space Corps was a lean and agile organization that repurposed Air Force funds to protect U.S. assets in space,” he said, “not create another bureaucracy with an edifice complex.” For the record, I warned that this would happen as well.

In attempting to avoid the burdensome major defense acquisition program process, the Space Force is hardly unique. Many of the high-profile acquisition programs underway now, including the B-21 bomber, the Army’s latest tank upgrade, and the F-35 modernization program, are all being done through offices or schemes outside of the formal process to avoid paperwork and testing requirements. But the Space Force’s reasoning isn’t necessarily sound. For example, the new service wants to eliminate several of the decision review points regarding development and production, claiming they are unnecessary for space systems because they are purchased in smaller quantities. While it is true that satellites and other space systems are not purchased in numbers like F-35s, we still buy more of them than we do aircraft carriers, which must go through the full review process.

This is also not the first time an agency has sought a unique acquisition process. Congress created the Missile Defense Agency in 2002 to combine a series of programs into an integrated ballistic missile defense system. The agency received special rules governing the way it purchases equipment and conducts testing, but has little to show for it. Since its founding 18 years ago, the agency has received approximately $174 billion and has produced only limited success. Just this year, after spending $1.3 billion, it pulled the plug on the Redesigned Kill Vehicle Program when it realized the technological challenges were too great to overcome. In all, more than $11 billion worth of Missile Defense Agency programs have come to nothing, and the United States still lacks the means to defend against incoming enemy missiles.

The last thing the American people need is another bureaucracy in Washington draining our tax dollars. There are legitimate military concerns in space and they must be properly addressed. But the key thing to remember is that, much like aviation, space operations by themselves are not decisive in war. It is how they impact operations at sea and on the ground that really matter. To that point, numerous critics now believe Space Force leaders will use their new proposed authorities to buy equipment that is incompatible with the gear used by the other services.

The bureaucratic barriers now established between the Space Force and the actual decisive arms on the ground and at sea will make it more difficult for them to receive the support they need.

Congress should not compound their already massive mistake by giving the Space Force special acquisition authorities. Doing so will accomplish little more than wasting taxpayer money, while simultaneously making it difficult for Congress to oversee its activities and operations. So far our forecasting on the Space Force has demonstrated levels of accuracy rarely seen in our unpredictable pandemic world. Hopefully Congress will heed this warning.

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A Most Sordid Profession – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 9, 2020

Why does the military not win wars? In part because winning is not in the interest of the Pentagon and those who feed on it. Wars generate profitable contracts for all manner of supplies and equipment. Either winning or losing ends the gravy train.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/fred-reed/a-most-sordid-profession/

A few thoughts on our disastrous trillion-dollar military:

It is unnecessary. It does not defend the United States. The last time it did so was in 1945. The United States has no military enemies. No nation has anything even close to the forces necessary to invade America, and probably none the desire. A fifth of the budget would suffice for any real needs.

“Our boys” are not noble warriors protecting democracy, rescuing maidens, and righting wrongs. They are, like all soldiers, obedient and amoral killers. Pilots bombing Iraq or Syria know they are killing civilians. They do not care. If ordered to bomb Switzerland, they would do it. This is the nature of all armies. Glamorizing this most reprehensible trades is just a means of usefully stimulating the pack instinct which we often call patriotism.

The militarily is America’s worst enemy. It does enormous damage to the United States while providing almost no benefit. Start with the war on Vietnam that cost hugely in money and lives, ours and theirs, with no benefit. Iraq: high cost, no benefit. Afghanistan: High cost, no benefit. Syria: High cost, no benefit.

The costs in lives and money do not include the staggering cost of weapons that do nothing for America or Americans. Do you, the reader, believe that you are safer because of the F-35? Do a dozen aircraft carriers improve the lives of your children? Will the B-21, an unbelievably expensive new thermonuclear bomber, make your streets safer? Then add the bleeding of engineering talent better spent on advancing America’s economic competitiveness. The country has many crying needs, falls behind China, but money and talent go to the military.

We cannot escape from the soldiers. The armed forces have embedded themselves so deeply into the country that they have almost become the country. America is little more than a funding mechanism for what clumsily may be called the military-industrial-intelligence-media-Israeli complex. Some of these entities belong to the military (NSA). Some depend on it (Lockheed-Martin). Some use it to their own ends (Israel), but the military is the central infection from which the other symptoms flow. Congress? A storefront, a subcommittee of the Knesset or, as P. J. O’Rourke put it, a parliament of whores. Factories, jobs, contracts, towns depend on military spending. If the Second Marine Division folded, Jacksonville NC would dry up and blow away. So would dozens of other towns. Without military spending, California’s economy would crash. Universities depend on military research funding.

The military has achieved its current autonomy by degrees, unnoticed. The Pentagon learned much in Vietnam, not about fighting wars, which it still cannot do well, but about managing its real enemy, the public. The media, which savaged the war on Vietnam, are now firmly controlled by the corporations that own them. Thus we do not see photos of the horrors committed by American aircraft bombing cities. While the existence of phenomenally expensive weapons like the B-21 is not quite suppressed, coverage is so slight that most Americans have never heard of it. This the Complex learned from the F-35 debacle. And of course Congress, thoroughly bought and wanting jobs in its districts, allows no serious opposition to anything military. Neither Congress nor the media point out the extent to which military expenditure dominates the economy, draining resources from civilian needs.

Why does the military not win wars? In part because winning is not in the interest of the Pentagon and those who feed on it. Wars generate profitable contracts for all manner of supplies and equipment. Either winning or losing ends the gravy train. For example, the war on Afghanistan of almost two decades has become an entitlement program for the arms industry, accomplishing nothing, killing countless peasants, and lacking purpose other than maintaining an unneeded empire and funneling money to the Complex.

How did the Complex free itself from civilian control? The crucial step in depriving the public of influence was the neutering of the constitutional requirement that wars be declared by Congress. The military thus became the private army of the President and those who control him. Then came the All Volunteer Army, which ended inconvenience to or mutilation of the children of people of importance, leaving the body bags to be filled by deplorables from Memphis or Appalachia or Mexico. America’s wars then became air wars and finally drone wars, reducing casualties to very few. The public, both ignorant and uninvolved, became acquiescent.

As I write, we wait to see whether Trump, and those behind him, will put America deeper into the Mid-East and perhaps war with Russia. If he does, we will read about it the next day in the newspapers. It will be expensive, dangerous, and of no benefit to anyone but the arms industry and Israel.

Despite the asphyxiating economic presence, the military keeps aloof from America. This too serves the purposes of the Complex, further preventing attention by the public to what is not its business. In the days of conscription there was a familiarity with the armed services. Young men from most social classes wore the uniform however ruefully and told of their experiences. Not now. The career military have always tended to keep to themselves, to socialize with each other as the police do. Now the isolation is almost hermetic. You can spend years in Washington or New York and never meet a colonel. Military society with its authoritarianism, its uniforms and its uniform government-issue outlook is not compatible with civil society. To the cultivated, military officers seem simple-minded, conformist and…well, weird.

Add it all up and you see that the citizenry has no say–none–over the Complex, which is autonomous and out of control. If the Complex wants war with Russia or China, we will have-war with Russia or China. Ask people whether they would prefer a naval base in Qatar–which most have never heard of, either the base or the country–or decent heath care. Then ask them which they have.

The military destroys America and there is nothing–nothing at all–that you can do about it.

Further, the Complex drives foreign policy, and in directions of no benefit to America or Americans. For example, the contrived fury against Russia. Why this? Russia presents no danger to America or anyone else. The Complex makes foreign policy for its own ends, not ours.

A rising Asia is challenging the America military Empire. The tide runs against the Complex. North Korea faced Washington down and became a nuclear power. The Crimea went back irrevocably to Russia. East Ukraine does the same. Iran got its treaty and becomes part of the world order. In the South China Sea, China ignores the US, which once was supreme in all the seas. The war against Afghanistan heads for its third decade and the war on Syria seems to have failed. Other things go badly for the Empire. The dollar is under siege as reserve currency. China grows economically, advances rapidly in technology and, doubtless terrifying to Washington, tries to integrate Asia and Europe into a vast economic bloc. The Complex beats the war drums as its fingers loosen on the world’s collective throat.

Washington desperately needs to stop the rollback of American power, stop the erosion of the dollar, block the economic integration of Eurasia and Latin America, keep Russia from trading amicably with Europe. It will do anything to maintain its grip. All of its remote wars in far-off savage lands, of no importance to America or Americans, are to this purpose. A militarized America threatens Russia, threatens China, threatens Iran, threatens North Korea, threatens Venezuela, expands NATO, on and on.

America has been hijacked.

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America's sport

Government’s favorite sport-War

 

 

 

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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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Pentagon racks up $35 trillion in accounting changes in a year

Posted by M. C. on January 22, 2020

The Defense Department acknowledged that it failed its first-ever audit in 2018…

FIRST EVER!

While auditors found no evidence of fraud…

Of course not. The government is auditing itself. Like when the justice department investigates the (justice department’s own) FIB.

All that money and we haven’t won a war since 1945 and have been in a stalemate with a couple of almost stone age countries since 2002.

Pentagon: The definition of failure…is rewarded more money by Government: The definition of failure.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/pentagon-racks-up-dollar35-trillion-in-accounting-changes-in-a-year/ar-BBZcVdy

Tony Capaccio

The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone — a total that’s larger than the entire U.S. economy and underscores the Defense Department’s continuing difficulty in balancing its books.

The latest estimate is up from $30.7 trillion in 2018 and $29 trillion in 2017, the first year adjustments were tracked in a concerted way, according to Pentagon figures and a lawmaker who’s pursued the accounting morass.

The figure dwarfs the $738 billion of defense-related funding in the latest U.S. budget, a spending plan that includes the most expensive weapons systems in the world including the F-35 jet as well as new aircraft carriers, destroyers and submarines.

“Within that $30 trillion is a lot of double, triple, and quadruple counting of the same money as it got moved between accounts,” said Todd Harrison, a Pentagon budget expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Defense Department acknowledged that it failed its first-ever audit in 2018 and then again last year, when it reviewed $2.7 trillion in assets and $2.6 trillion in liabilities. While auditors found no evidence of fraud in the review of finances that Congress required, they flagged a laundry list of problems, including accounting adjustments.

Although it gets scant public attention compared with airstrikes, troop deployments, sexual assault statistics or major weapons programs, the reliability of the Pentagon’s financial statement is an indication of how effectively the military manages its resources considering that it receives over half of discretionary domestic spending.

The military services make adjustments, some automatic and some manual, on a monthly and quarterly basis, and those actions are consolidated by the Pentagon’s primary finance and accounting service and submitted to the Treasury.

There were 546,433 adjustments in fiscal 2017 and 562,568 in 2018, according to figures provided by Representative Jackie Speier, who asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate. The watchdog agency will release a report on the subject Wednesday after reviewing more than 200,000 fourth-quarter 2018 adjustments totaling $15 trillion.

‘Sloppy Record-Keeping’…

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f35-moneydump

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Andrew Yang: Government Takeover of Drug Manufacturing, Licensing Would Lower Prices

Posted by M. C. on December 11, 2019

He also advocates for punishing businesses who do not cooperate with the government.

Government already punishes businesses.

Military, education, health care, annual trillion dollar deficits. A 17 year long war, $trillion+  war with no end in sight that we were told would pay for itself. The  F-35 a $billion over budget. The first deployed $12 billion Ford class aircraft carrier has a launch system that won’t launch F-35 aircraft for years (if ever?).

Government has quite history of keeping costs down.

The sad thing is the sheeple will buy Yang’s story.

https://www.breitbart.com/2020-election/2019/12/10/andrew-yang-government-drug-manufacturing-lower-prices/

by Penny Starr

Democrat entrepreneur Andrew Yang is a long shot to win the White House in 2020, but he is still rolling out his presidential plans, including more federal government control over the medical prescription industry.

Andrew Yang’s plan includes using international standards for drug pricing, licensing drug companies that cooperate with the government’s regulations, and public manufacturing of medications.

Yang makes a pitch for his plans on his campaign website:

We need to put pressure on these companies to get their prices under control and more in line with the rest of the world. Americans pay twice as much as Australians and three times as much as the Dutch on prescription drugs due to lack of price control. We have to give the federal government authority to negotiate drug prices and use standard international price reference points so pharmaceutical companies can no longer exploit our market and the American people.

If these companies are not willing to compromise, we need to ensure the U.S. government has the ability to force licenses for these drugs to companies who will. Additionally, we need to authorize the creation of public manufacturing facilities to make these drugs, as well as other necessary drugs and unprofitable but necessary medications, for the American people.

Yang also said that Congress should legislate to make it possible for Medicare — or the government — to negotiate drug prices. He also advocates for punishing businesses who do not cooperate with the government.

“If a company is charging too much, someone willing to charge a reasonable amount will be granted a license to make the medication,” Yang said on his campaign website.

“According to his campaign, Yang would also allow for importing prescription medication from other countries ‘if all else fails,’” the Hill reported.

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Price of the Alliance: The F-35 Undermines Korean Peace, South Korea’s National Security – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on October 16, 2019

One might wonder why South Korea is even taking delivery of a plane that, as a model, is still being evaluated and is by no means near full development seventeen years into the program. This is because Lockheed Martin is fast-tracking the rollout of units for foreign purchase to offset the outrageous cost of the program. Essentially South Korea is buying a fleet of unfinished, defective jets.

I wonder what the Boltonesque non-refusable deal was that would make SK buy and flaunt a piece of junk to jeopardize peace.

https://original.antiwar.com/Stu_Smallwood/2019/10/15/price-of-the-alliance-the-f-35-undermines-korean-peace-south-koreas-national-security/

South Korean President Moon Jae-in did something very unusual in early October for a leader who once deemed the Korean peace process among the highest priorities of his administration: He promoted the very fighter jets that North Korea says undermine diplomacy.

President Moon was on hand to celebrate the first delivery of the Lockheed Martin F-35A “next generation” fighter jets that, with 40 in total set to arrive by 2021, represent the most expensive weapons purchase in South Korean history according to Reuters.

“The war of the future will be a fight of science and intelligence against all elements that threaten our people’s safety and property,” Moon said in a speech to promote the jets, noting that he felt “secure about the might of [South Korea’s] military armed with new … F-35As.”

Diplomacy with North Korea aside, one could accept South Korea’s introduction of the F-35A as a necessary evil for national security if the jets were crucial to addressing a critical shortcoming in military capacity. But the evidence suggests the opposite – that there is, in fact, nothing “scientific” or “intelligent” about the purchase. Nor is there any clear need to publicly celebrate the delivery of these jets, using them as a prop to appear strong on national security (itself an acquiescence to South Korea’s hawkish right wing) at a time when the peace process is hanging over the abyss by a thread.

The F-35 Fuels North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Advancements

Perception rules when it comes to national security and the F-35A is, in theory, a game-changer for South Korean force projection. Official claims suggest the jet threatens North Korea’s ability to retaliate in the face of a US-South Korean invasion. This is hugely problematic because a basic element of military strategy is maintaining not only the capacity, but (just as importantly) the appearance of the capacity, to respond with prohibitive force in the event of an enemy attack.

This appearance alone should be enough to discourage any rational actor from considering a pre-emptive strike. This concept is commonly referred to as mutually assured destruction in nuclear warfare, but the principle is the same for conventional weaponry. North Korea relies heavily on ballistic missiles and artillery targeting South Korea for this purpose. As things currently stand, the threat of massive casualties in Seoul is enough to prevent overt attempts at North Korean regime change.

Yet, the F-35A is said to be a stealth jet that can travel undetected at unprecedented speeds to deliver payloads to a target. This would – again in theory – allow the South Korean air force to fly into North Korean territory undetected and destroy their ballistic missile launchers, dealing a serious blow to their retaliatory capabilities and potentially making the price of an invasion much less prohibitive…

Problems Abound for the Unfinished, Inadequately Tested F-35A

Without access to the F-35A, North Korea is forced to believe the hype – and respond to the potential threat it represents. But one would naturally assume South Korea, as an ally of the United States and reliable purchaser of US weaponry surely has in-depth knowledge of just what the F-35A is – and isn’t – capable of. This makes President Moon’s use of the jets as a national security prop all the more disconcerting because even official reports indicate the F-35A is a turkey.

Not even the US military knows whether the jet will ever be reliable because it hasn’t even come close to being adequately tested and still faces myriad issues. Dan Grazier, an F-35 expert at the Project On Government Oversight, reported in August that the F-35 test fleet has only achieved an 11 percent “fully mission capable rate” – embarrassingly low when the initial goal was to reach 80 percent readiness by the end of operational testing.

One might wonder why South Korea is even taking delivery of a plane that, as a model, is still being evaluated and is by no means near full development seventeen years into the program. This is because Lockheed Martin is fast-tracking the rollout of units for foreign purchase to offset the outrageous cost of the program. Essentially South Korea is buying a fleet of unfinished, defective jets…

The purchase of the F-35A must be viewed in this context – in the same vein as the introduction of the THAAD system, which itself is an unproven technology that strains South Korea’s relationship with China as well as North Korea. If the acquisition of flawed and untested weaponry is the price of the alliance, at what point does the alliance itself become prohibitively expensive, both in terms of raw tax dollars and the threat to regional stability?

It is bad enough that a supposed peace president not only fails to address this question; that he flaunts the dubious and provocative F-35A as a political prop is all the more troubling and indicative of South Korea’s unfortunate role in relation to the US – a loyal customer of US weapons above all, regardless of its national interest.

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Screenshot of Korean War from American History Lux

 

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The Pentagon’s new nuclear doctrine is scary as hell — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on July 23, 2019

…maintaining a stranglehold over its empire…

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/464467-nuclear-weapons-doctrine-american/

Darius Shahtahmasebi

The Pentagon is actively contemplating the use of nuclear weapons to win wars that need not be fought in the first place. As expected, opposition to the US nuclear doctrine is almost non-existent in the mainstream media.

It used to be the case that the idea of using nuclear weapons in a real-world conflict was such a taboo idea that no one was ever openly to contemplate it. We need only look back to the end of World War II to realize how catastrophic and harmful nuclear weapons can be on civilian populations; yet we shouldn’t have had the blueprint of Nagasaki and Hiroshima to know that the use of nuclear weapons would be a frightening and criminal act. They are deadly and unnecessary, end of story. You can all save me the cliched response “But they ended a war.”

Firstly, the use of nuclear weapons didn’t end a war – it started one (the Cold War). Secondly, anyone who knows even a little bit of history knows that Japan was on the verge of defeat. But don’t take my word for it – I wasn’t there. But those who were typically made statements to the effect that “[t]he use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.” But I digress.

The United States military has decided that the only chance it has of maintaining a stranglehold over its empire is to actively contemplate the scenarios and situations in which it should deploy the use of nuclear weapons.

 

According to the Pentagon’s June Nuclear Operations or Joint Publication 3-72 (which was unsurprisingly made private not long after its release), the US believes that “developing nuclear contingency plans sends an important signal to adversaries and enemies that the US has the capability and willingness to employ nuclear weapons to defend itself and its allies and partners”.

Nuclear weapon capabilities constitute a vital element of national defense,” the document states. “Nuclear operations are those activities within the range of military operations, to include deterrence, crisis response, strike assessment and return to stability.”

The Pentagon apparently believes that it is “necessary” and “prudent” to “preplan nuclear employment options for contingencies prior to a crisis,” which includes “a means to assess the anticipated effectiveness of options prior to execution,” as well as a “means to assess the nature and extent of unintended consequences.”…

Somehow, the use of nuclear weapons is only scary or worthy of discussion if that discussion involves countries such as Russia and China. Just take the bombshell admission that the US stores nuclear weapons in Turkey as an example. The US is saying it will remove Ankara from its F-35 fighter jet program – but only because Turkey has purchased the advanced S-400 missile defense system from Moscow. The US barely blinked as a failed coup in 2016 could have put advanced nuclear weapons in some very unsavory hands…

Be seeing you

e4dd4-iu

 

 

 

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Turkey Trolls Trump – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 18, 2019

Turkey’s Erdogan has been trying to suck US into a full blown war in Syria. Instigating poison gas attacks for example which we know about thanks to Seymour Hersh.

Turkey is wooing Russia. Erdogan rightly fears regime change. He knows what happens when you don’t do as the US says.

That is why he is buying the Russian defense system.

Will the US do war on Russians doorstep?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/yvonne-lorenzo/turkey-trolls-trump/

By

Moon of Alabama published an article recently on Turkey’s purchase of the Russia S-400 system and included a tweet from “government controlled Turkish news agency Anadolu made it abundantly clear what the system is supposed to target. When it announced the news of the arrival it attached the picture below to its tweet” and here’s a screen capture of the Tweet:

Moon of Alabama posted the entire image and I couldn’t help laughing. All that’s missing from the potential targets is the F-35. But you’ll note all of them are American systems. It’s easy to guess that Turkey is defending itself from any bombing campaign instigated by Washington to initiate “regime change.”

As I’ve written on LewRockwell.com, backed by experts, VLO or stealth is essentially marketing hype. Russian historian and military analyst Andrei Martyanov discussed the S-400 deal on his blog:

I want to clear the air from the very start: Turkey knows what [the] F-35 is and that is why she will “survive” cancellation of F-35 deliveries. F-35 for Turkey, who produced a number of parts for this aircraft, was primarily of industrial interest. So, all this contrived BS about security issues is just that, BS. Modern Air Defense complexes, such as S-400, even in their export version, can detect, track and shoot down all those VLO (Very Low Observability) targets such as F-35. The only “security issue” here for the United States was the fact that having “live” F-35 and S-400 simultaneously by the key member of NATO would have revealed publicly (in professional circles it is known well already) all [the] massive faults with F-35 in general and ONLY-VLO-centric combat aircraft concept in particular.

Martyanov wrote an entire short piece on “Radiophotonics” here, entitled, “Radiophotonics, Again” and this is a relevant excerpt, since I have no engineering or technical background:

This morning, however, some interesting news—it does exist, it is in the process of trials and addressing its inevitable issues (in Russian), and that means the end radio VLO as such in a very near future. Not that VLO is that much useful now in high end peer-to-peer warfare but ramifications of radiophotonics radar being deployed in the modern battle-field are immense and have strategic implications. This also explains Russia’s rather calm and confident reaction in the last 20+ years to US radio VLO (Stealth) developments since modern signal processing and sensor fusion techniques allow for a very effective countering of “stealth” targets.

In fact, at this stage any further investment into VLO technologies seems to be just a waste of time and money or, as Commanders Gattuso and Tanner wrote 17 years ago (in relation to CVN(X)), it is:

like polishing cannonballs so they will fly a little farther

An article on the “massive faults” of the F-35 posted on Defensenews.com entitled, “The Pentagon is Battling the Clock to Fix Serious, Unreported F-35 Problems.” No doubt the taxpayer will be on the hook to fix these problems—more billions, at the least. I lack the expertise to determine whether the F-35 will be viable but an informed source in private communication opined:

My personal guesstimate is that the F-35 will eventually become a capable command post and a capable ground strike platform. It is stealthy enough to be used against primitive enemies but has absolutely NO chance against Russia [and China] and her integrated air defense network (including ground stations, AWACS and the typical mix of MiG-31BM, Su-34, Su-30SM, Su-35S and Su-57).

In terms of air-to-air, the F-35 (all versions) suffers from bad aerodynamics, poor thrust-to-weight ratio, poor range, poor speed, poor armament and an inadequate (under-powered) radar.  One US specialist said that a first-generation F-16 could beat the F-35 in a one-on-one air-to-air combat. So they will be used under the protection of F-22s and only in theaters where the opposing forces has poor to medium air defenses (Syria and Iran are both in that category, with the exception of some better protected locations).

Bottom line: the US is screwed. There are BILLIONS riding on the F-35 program and no alternatives in the foreseeable future.

What the US should have done is modernize its fleet of F-16, F-15 and F-18 aircraft like the Russians did with the Su-27 or Tu-22M3…

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f35-moneydump

 

 

 

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Trump’s “Salute to America” Is a Salute to Government Employees | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on July 8, 2019

Slavish displays of patriotism and loyalty to the state are inimical to the real meaning of the holiday.

https://mises.org/power-market/trumps-salute-america-salute-government-employees

Ryan McMaken

…More observant readers will note, of course, that the event is not a salute to “America” at all. It is a salute to the Pentagon. According to the presdient, the purpose of the event is “showing to the American people, among other things, the strongest and most advanced Military anywhere in the World. Incredible Flyovers & biggest ever Fireworks!”

Were the event actually a salute to America, it would celebrate the private sector and all the taxpayers who are forced to pay more than $5,000 per year, per taxpayer, just to fund the Pentagon and its related agencies.1

Rather than a grotesque display of military hardware — such as the trillion-dollar boondoggle known as the F-35 — the “Salute” would line up tractor trailer trucks and commercial airliners to be admired by the people who benefit daily from the goods and services made possible by them. Meanwhile, the Salute would honor the truck drivers, airline pilots, insurance brokers, and janitors who produce all the wealth that is eventually skimmed by tax collectors to pay for — among other things — giant DC government parties…

At the Salute, government employees would be allowed to express their admiration to these productive taxpayers, with phrases such as:

Of course, if the president and members of Congress want to pay for a fireworks display out of their own pockets to show their thanks to the people who pay the bills, that would be fine…

Independence Day should be a celebration against government and a reminder that Americans can once again walk away from tyranny, even if force of arms is required.

This does not defame or insult the American troops, but rather reminds us that we are a civilian nation and the government, and its troops, are supposed to be our servants rather than our masters. Slavish displays of patriotism and loyalty to the state are inimical to the real meaning of the holiday.

If Americans really wanted to celebrate the spirit of the Declaration, they’d demand a parade of smugglers, tax cheats, and secessionists. But then again, those people are usually busy working for a living, and it might be hard to get them to show up. Government employees, on the other hand, have plenty of spare time for yet another salute to themselves.

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America's sport

Government’s favorite sport-War

 

 

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