After $1.45 trillion….. yep that is trillion with a “T”….and this brick still cannot get off the ground….
The fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters flying in the critical operational testing phase is struggling to stay airborne, which could delay the troubled program’s great leap forward into mass production.
As I recently reported for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a document from the program’s test force shows that the fleet’s test aircraft, housed at California’s Edwards Air Force Base, have netted an average 11 percent “fully mission capable rate”—the key measure of how often an aircraft can perform all of its assigned missions—since the process began last December.
This is yet another in a series that I write as part of my antiwar campaign.
The title is an excellent question that has many answers but only one to my way of thinking.
This is not the world of World War 2…….and there is no major threat, military threat, to speak of for the US to keep a watchful eye upon….yes there is China….or Russia….or ….that is about it these days.
But let us look at what The American Conservative had to say on the question……
Today’s political and military leaders have no choice but to project technology and strategic conditions into the future while they develop their forces today. However, before such multi-billion dollar investments are made, critical questions should be answered.
What is the real mission set? In other words, whom do we fight? Where do we fight? How do we fight? And how do we get there? On Memorial Day, we must take a step back to properly address these questions because right now it’s not so clear. What we do have is a military spending strategy that is out of whack with reality and setting us up for failure when real threats arise.
The United States is primarily a global maritime and aerospace power, not a global land power. Washington is known for exaggerating threats, but is the notion of spending to fight a near-simultaneous war with Russia and China in 2030 a realistic goal? Wars with continental powers like Russia, China, or even Turkey or Iran, demand the persistent employment of large and powerful ground forces projected over thousands of miles. U.S. military advantages at sea and in the air are relegated to supporting roles as seen in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
These days our foreign policy is more about meddling than trying to head off war……
But let me mention just a few of the things that we didn’t learn from the Mueller report. We didn’t learn that Russian agents appeared at Republican Party headquarters in 2016 with millions of dollars in donations to influence the coming election. (Oops, my mistake! That was CIA agents in the Italian election of 1948!) We didn’t learn that a Russian intelligence agency in combination with Chinese intelligence, aided by a major Chinese oil company, overthrew an elected U.S. president and installed Donald Trump in the White House as their autocrat of choice. (Oops, my mistake again! That was the CIA, dispatched by an American president, and British intelligence, with the help of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, later BP. In 1953, they overthrew Mohammad Mossadegh, the elected prime minister of Iran, and installed the young Shah as an autocratic ruler, the very first — but hardly the last — time the CIA successfully ousted a foreign government.) We didn’t learn that key advisers to Russian President Vladimir Putin were in close touch with rogue elements of the U.S. military preparing to stage a coup d’état in Washington, kill President Barack Obama in a direct assault on the White House, and put the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in office. (Sorry, again my slip-up and full apologies! That was President Richard Nixon’s adviser Henry Kissinger in contact with Chilean military officers who, on September 11, 1973—the first 9/11—staged an armed uprising during which Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of that country, died and army commander-in-chief Augusto Pinochet took power.) We didn’t learn that, at the behest of Vladimir Putin, Russian secret service agents engaged in a series of plots to poison or in some other fashion assassinate Barack Obama during his presidency and, in the end, had at least a modest hand in encouraging those who did kill him after he left office. (Oh, wait, I was confused on that one, too. I was actually thinking about the plots, as the 1960s began, to do in Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.) Nor, for that matter, did we learn that the Russian military launched a regime-change-style invasion of this country to unseat an American president and get rid of our weapons of mass destruction and then occupied the country for years after installing Donald Trump in power. (Sorry one more time! What I actually had in mind before I got so muddled up was the decision of the top officials of President George W. Bush’s administration, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, to launch a “regime-change” invasion of Iraq in 2003, based on fraudulent claims that Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, and install a government of their choice in Baghdad.)
States use war, or the threat of war, as a last resort to solve political disputes. For every state, the ability to make war is an indispensable tool to ensure its security. However, war cannot rebuild trust. War cannot separate truth from lies. War cannot defeat attacks on the social structures currently seen in the West. We must look elsewhere.
If war is not the answer why is there war?
This from Smedley Butler……
Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.
War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.
I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
That time again….a Saturday and time for IST News from Space…..
I know this does not interest most of my readers…but I feel obligated to keep informing my readers and trying to make sense of the space force thingy……
Besides the bureaucracy the cash needed to fund this new branch of the military will be staggering….cash needed elsewhere in the society…health, infrastructure, education, et al….but for some reason a Space Force is a priority.
The House Armed Services Committee voted to establish a United States Space Corps within the Department of the Air Force. The vote came in the overnight hours Thursday. The committee began its markup of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act Wednesday morning. After a nearly 21-hour session, the committee passed the NDAA 33-24.
The Space Corps amendment was offered by the HASC Strategic Forces subcommittee leaders Chairman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.). The proposal is similar to what the committee proposed in the 2018 NDAA, including the name of the new space service, U.S. Space Corps, rather than the Trump administration’s preferred name, U.S. Space Force.
Like the Marine Corps, the Space Corps would be led by a four-star Commandant who would be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It is a new voting cycle and we will hear and see so much total BS that your head will spin. The Green New Deal, Medicare For All, etc etc……for now I shall let others handle those (I said for now! There is always tomorrow!)…….the biggest lie is that we cannot afford these policies for there is not enough money…..
I want to talk about the Pentagon in this thought……Our defense budget just keeps growing and growing and our wars just keep expanding and expanding…….and we cannot afford any policies that help our citizenry or the country any good……..
That’s according to the Washington Post‘s Jeff Stein and Aaron Gregg, who reported Thursday that “the United States is expected to spend more on its military in 2020 than at any point since World War II, except for a handful of years at the height of the Iraq War.”
In his 2020 budget request, Trump called for $750 billion in Pentagon spending. Democrats countered with a $733 billion offer, which would still represent a substantial increase over the Pentagon’s 2019 budget.
Either number would bring U.S. military spending to “near-historic highs,” according to the Post.
Time for someone, a candidate, to step up and demand that the Pentagon budget be reduced and more spend on the nation….wait! We have one of these candidates, Tulsi Gabbard. She does not get the coverage she deserves because media favorites like Biden and Mayor Pete are sucking all the air out of the early days of the campaigns.
If she is not elected then the cycle of endless, worthless wars will continu and Americans will continue to die and be maimed….and the tax dollars will be thrown away as they are today.
Use your vote to send a message…..choose a candidate and help them win…..
The wheels have been set in progress for the development of a US Space Force…..
President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-4, directing the Department of Defense to draft a legislative proposal to establish a Space Force by 2020 as a sixth branch of the armed services under the Department of the Air Force — similar to how the Marine Corps is its own military service under the Department of the Navy. The directive makes clear this is an interim step toward eventual full independence for the Space Force: “As the United States Space Force matures, and as national security requires, it will become necessary to create a separate military department, to be known as the Department of the Space Force.”
Organizational design theory predicts several worrisome outcomes of a Space Force created either as a separate service or an independent department. The granting of independence to the U.S. Air Force in 1947 and the establishment of U.S. Special Operations Command in 1987 share striking similarities with the Space Force debate in terms of the general security environment and the specific re-organizing proposals. In each case, unique mission sets were differentiated at the highest levels — that is, they were insulated from outside control and elevated within the organization.
Slowly but slowly Trump is expanding our presence in space……Trump is hedging his bets in case Congress does not give into his desire…..
The Trump administration may not ultimately get to create the highly-anticipated Space Force — that will fall on congressional shoulders — but the White House has made strides in expanding the U.S. military’s role beyond the Earth’s atmosphere anyway.
Per CNN, defense officials confirmed on Tuesday that four star Air Force general, John Raymond, will head up the newly established U.S. Space Command.
I have always pointed out the cost to taxpayers for this decision……and it continues to grow…..
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Wednesday said his pitch to skeptical lawmakers on the need for a U.S. Space Force is that the Pentagon needs to move fast to keep up with pacing threats from Russia and China in space.
Speaking to audiences during a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington, D.C., Shanahan said he envisions “15,000 to 20,000” individuals defending and protecting U.S. interests in the domain. In its fiscal 2020 budget proposal, the Pentagon said the branch will have 15,000 people, making it the smallest of any service.
While the Space Force will not need roughly $12.9 billion over five years to resource personnel and infrastructure for the branch like the Air Force originally proposed, Shanahan said the $2 billion over the same timeframe proposed to Congress is a “parametric estimate,” meaning one that uses historical cost information and analysis of previous conditions to arrive at a figure.
I have posted on this earlier…..China and US in a race for space domination……
Fifty years after the first moon landing, an American triumph that gripped the world, China marked the start of 2019 with its own lunar achievement. Chang’e-4, a Chinese probe, landed on the far side of the moon in early January, broadcasting – for the first time in human history – images of the cratered surface that faces away from Earth.
Chang’e-4 has been billed as a friendly explorer, the latest step in humanity’s mission to better understand and exploit the universe around us. But space exploration has always been about power. Beijing’s lunar feat represents the latest development in the space race between China and the United States – a conflict that will be “important to modern warfare,” according to a US Defense Intelligence Agency report released in January that identified China as a “threat”. The Chinese foreign ministry responded by calling the report “reckless” and “totally groundless,” insisting that China “opposes militarisation and an arms race in space.”
All this “urgency” for a Space “unit”….could this be another war prep by the US?
Staying ahead of space trends – from satellite manufacture to new launch options – is daunting. Six trends – at least – are at work. To what exact end they vector is unclear, but watching is important. These trends will affect American investment in space, national security, our modern standards of living, and our wider economy.
First, heavy satellites are getting heavier, as more capability is attached to each satellite. Capabilities are commercial to national security, communications to climate prediction, crisis response to territorial protection, real-time analysis to event anticipation.
All this talk about a Space Force……will it be legal according to international treaties? Of course Trump can do what he always does disregard any treaties he does not like…..stay tuned I will be posting on “Space Law” soon. (There are laws about space….believe it or not….)
Just as the other Great Wall was erected to keep “invaders” out our Dear Supreme Leader is trying to erect one of his own (something he can point to as a material accomplishment of a weak presidency)…..
And where will the president try to slip cash out to pay for this worthless endeavor?
The Pentagon always has more money than it knows what to do with…..
The Pentagon has a list of $6.8 billion worth of construction projects it could choose to take money from in order to build President Trump’s border wall, according to a list belatedly provided to Congress on Monday.
But officials have yet to even decide how much Defense Department money they’ll use toward the wall, and so they haven’t decided which projects on the target list would actually be affected.
The Pentagon also said Congress can make sure none of the projects suffer by passing an increase in military construction money for 2020, allowing the government to go back and replenish the accounts Mr. Trump wants to drain for his border wall.
On a side note…the Pentagon plans to cut $31 billion from its budget (seriously?)…….
The U.S. Army‘s fiscal 2020 budget, which will be made public in mid-March, will cut $31.5 billion from existing programs to ensure that the service’s top priorities of readiness and modernization remain on track, Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday.
Army senior leadership just wrapped up its version of “night court,” a time-consuming and tedious process in which top generals went through each program to find extra money for the service’s six modernization priorities and to fund efforts to increase the readiness levels of brigade combat teams, McCarthy told an audience at an Association of the United States Army breakfast.
It is always fun to see what the Pentagon does for they know that the Congress will shove lots of taxpayer money up their butts and tell they to play pretty.
There has been an evaluation going on with the A-10 and F-35…..and the next stage will begin soon…..
The Pentagon-led F-35 vs. A-10 Close Air Support assessment is nearing its next phase of evaluation, following an initial “first wave” of tests in July of this year — designed to test which of the two aircraft might be best suited to confront heavy enemy fire when performing high-risk CAS missions.
“Mission performance is under evaluation,” Vice Adm. Mat Winter, Program Executive Officer, F-35 program, told reporters earlier this year.
Pre- Initial Operational Test & Evaluation test phases, are currently underway at Edwards AFB and Naval Air Station China Lake, officials said.
Personally, there is NO contest….the ‘Hog has been saving troops lives for decades and should keep doing what it does best. I mean the Pentagon keeps upgrading the old B-52 and the same can be done with the A-10 and it would be cheaper than a fleet of flying bricks, F-35.
The A-10 does not need a replacement…..it carries out its duties just fine.