By NICK SCHWELLENBACH
Four men who've made a profound mark on the Defense Department over the last several decades have penned a scathing piece on the integrity of defense expertise at the conservative Heritage Foundation. The tract is called "The Heritage Foundation Then and Now" and is on CounterPunch. Here's a snippet, but read the whole thing:
On December 26, 2012 the Director of Heritage’s Center for Foreign Policy Studies, Dr. James J. Carafano, published a commentary in the Washington Examiner, “What To Do about Obama’s Pound-Foolish Air Force.” Without saying so explicitly, he implied that the legendary Col. John R. Boyd, “a fighter pilot’s fighter pilot” in Dr. Carafano’s words, would favor what the good doctor wants: to reopen production of the $411 million F-22 and to buy more $154 million F-35s.
Each of us knew and worked closely with John Boyd [whom Heritage Foundation analyst Dr. James J. Carafano cites to support the F-22 and F-35]. Invoking Boyd’s legacy to endorse Carafano’s ideas about the F-22 and the F-35—ideas that would have been anathema to Boyd—profoundly offends us. Demonstrating ignorance about both John Boyd’s thinking and about fighter aircraft fundamentals, the Carafano article’s pervasive disregard for facts provides an excellent example of the ethical bankruptcy that lies at the core of our defense problems and our defense budget debate today. With this editorial by their Director for Foreign Policy Studies, Heritage signals a descent from serious analysis of the nation’s defense needs to contemptible gimmicks for pushing the big-spending agenda of the Foundation’s defense industry funders—specifically, in this case, pushing the agenda of Lockheed-Martin, manufacturer of the F-22 and F-35 and major contributor to Heritage.
Keep reading the article. Even if you support Heritage, there's a lot to learn about warfighting and the history and modern theory of combat.
The authors aren't some pacifist bleeding heart liberals. Thomas Christie was director of Pentagon operation test and evaluation under President George W. Bush from 2001 through 2005.
Pierre Sprey was the lead designer of the A-10 Warthog, a close air support plane that was originally built to destroy Soviet tanks flooding into Central Europe. The plane is so successful in other contexts and popular among ground troops that attempts by the Air Force to get of A-10s have been unsuccessful.
Chuck Spinney was a Pentagon analyst for decades and made the cover of TIME Magazine in 1983 when he appeared before a Senate panel chaired by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) to disclose how the military-industrial complex was systematically disarming America while causing us to spend more and more.
Winslow Wheeler worked in the Congress for 31 years. Over that period, he worked for three Senate Republicans and one Senate Democrat, as well as the Government Accountability Office, until leaving in 2002.
Nick Schwellenbach is POGO's Director of Investigations.