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Apr 20, 2012

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Dfens

While it is always good to hear from you, Bryan, I seriously do not understand how it is that you can continue to miss the handwriting on the wall on this one. The defense contractors are making money hand over fist designing weapons. They have no incentive to build them. They don't mind keeping existing assembly lines open, because they've already mitigated the risks in assembly lines that have been going for decades. When it comes to new weapons, it is quite obvious to any serious observer that they are not interested in making them. Why is POGO continuing to play on the defense contractor's side on this? Your organization is supposed to be standing up for the taxpayer. You get the "FAIL" on this one.

Bryan Rahija

Hi Dfens, thanks for your comments. Not much to add beyond what Ben already said.

Dfens

Ok, let me lay down the facts for you so you can see how it is that you are working to the same ends as the defense contractors here.

Lockheed Martin does not want to build F-35 aircraft!

If you are for terminating the F-35, your agenda and theirs are the same -- period. POGO told us the F-22 was unaffordable and that it should be terminated in favor of the F-35 and you were wrong. The F-35 is now more expensive and worse performing than the F-22 was. You played into the hands of the military industrial complex there too. How many times do you have to go down that same road before you figure this out?

If you think the next program will be better, why? What evidence do you have in the last 30 years that tells you the next program will be better? They have gotten progressively worse. Only a fool would think the next program will produce a better airplane for less money, when the last 30 years of data says otherwise.

You should be clamoring for the F-35’s award fees to be cut to zero given the cost, schedule, and technical performance of the program. That really hits the contractors where they live. You should be calling for real reform of the DoD procurement system including an elimination of all "pay for process" contracts. The government should pay only for RESULTS, not process. You should be calling for a return to accountability. The "design by committee" approach to designing weapons has always failed and is failing us now. There should be A PERSON responsible for every weapon that is designed. Finally, you should be demanding that the outsourcing of the design of Navy ships and NASA rockets be brought back in house as this outsourcing has nearly destroyed our ability to keep the oceans safe for commerce and our ability to explore space.

It's your choice. You're either on the side of the defense contractors once again, or you're on the side of the US taxpayer. Which is it?

Ben Freeman

Hi Dfens,
As always, I thank you for your shrewd comments.

I vehemently disagree that POGO thinks, or has even implied, that the system works. We’ve been strong proponents of weapons acquisition reform. Just two weeks ago we wrote about the entire weapons portfolio, “Delivering less, later, for more money.” There certainly are some bad actors, but they are operating in an inefficient system that does not provide the best equipment to our forces at the lowest cost to taxpayers. Until both of those things change POGO will continue to call out the bad actors and pursue meaningful improvements to the procurement process.

One of those improvements is reducing concurrency. Giving the Super Hornet replacement ample time for development could reduce costs in the long-run and provide the forces with a more capable aircraft. It’s clear that the B and C models of the F-35 will never be affordable and will never deliver the capabilities they were supposed to – it’s time to cut our losses and find a new solution. Killing off the program is some measure of accountability, though, I agree, much more is needed to atone for the failures of this program.

"Provoke accountability" is not just our cute bumper sticker, it’s our motto and what drives our work. I sincerely thank you for provoking accountability in the military, and amongst those of writing about it.

Guest

I'm glad to hear the US Navy is looking alternatives to the failed JSF project. Is because this lemon is undergoing a substantial flight test and evaluation program which is not progressing well and not meeting test objectives. Its been stated that what will be delivered (if F-35 ever arrives) will be obsolete; and that the F-35 is not affordable or sustainable. With cost increases, schedule delays, and continuing technical problems also increases the risk that the program will not be able to deliver the aircraft quantities and capabilities in the time required by the warfighter. The F-35 has failed the initial test of its stealth capability and remains behind schedule to provide the performance requirements. The cost of supporting the JSF will not be progressively refined between now and its introduction into its service. The F-35 will be extremely costly to operate than the F/A-18 or other aircraft.

What the the Pentagon continues to claim that the aircraft's are worth the price, because we can’t survive without the F-35s. All that means is more time, more people and more money of pushing forward the Joint Strike Failure at any cost only threatens to create a budgetary sinkhole that will weaken the defences of the U.S. and its allies.

I just hope that the F/A-XX will be a better aeroplane to fulfill Navy's requirements for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet replacement for e.g.

1. Large airframe (with high capability)

2. Two engines (for overwater operations and to improve the safety and reliability over single-engined designs)

3. Longer range (without refuelling over 3,000 miles)

4. Bigger weapons payload

5. Better manoeuvrability (with 3D thrust vectoring) which has the ability to 'turn and burn' and greatly improves its ability to escape the missile envelope of an enemy fighter.

6. Better acceleration (at Mach 2+ and equip with supercruising mode) etc.

southernphantom

"ensuring that taxpayers get a cheaper aircraft with superior capabilities."

The costs inherent in developing a militarily useful unmanned fighter would be so high as the render any supposed 'advantages' null and void. Manned aircraft have been, are, and always will be the way to go for combat capability.

Dfens

Good to see that POGO still has the military industrial complex's back. The answer is always to kill the existing program and move on to another, right? Except after 30 years of waiting for that next new program to build actual airplanes, our forces are continuing to get weaker. Does POGO have a solution? No, according to POGO the system works. It's just a few bad actors here and there, so let's keep doing the same damn thing over and over again each time hoping for a better result and everything will be ok. After watching $46 billion in failed programs that don't produce a thing, you'd think someone would see a pattern emerge. But not POGO. Let's kill off one more program. Let's not hold anyone accountable for the money wasted. Let's try it again hoping this time it will all be ok. Brilliant.

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