Caught Pants Down With All Our Eggs In One Basket

Remember less than a year ago when Obama and Robert Gates cancelled the F-22 Raptor progam, the world’s premier air dominance fighter, which was already in service, because it was a “waste [of] billions of taxpayers dollars”? In their infinite wisdom, the dynamic defense duo decided to gamble almost America’s entire air combat future on a single, unproven design, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, that has yet to be put into production and won’t enter service in the foreseeable future.

Well, guess what?

GAO analyst says cost overruns, delays continue to plague F-35 program

A congressional auditor said Thursday that the Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, “continues to struggle with increased costs and slowed progress,” leading to “substantial risk” that the defense contractor will not be able to build the jet on time or deliver as many aircraft as expected.

Michael Sullivan, the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s top analyst on Lockheed Martin’s jet fighter, also known as the F-35 Lightning II, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a hearing that the cost of the program has increased substantially and that development is 2 1/2 years behind schedule.

The United States plans to buy about 2,400 of the fighter jets for the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Navy. The projected cost for the program appears to have increased to $323 billion from $231 billion in 2001, when Bethesda-based Lockheed won the deal, according to Sullivan. Eight other countries — Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway — also plan to buy the jets.

The cost to build the plane is now expected to be $112 million per aircraft, according to a GAO auditor.

Sullivan said the program’s “negative outcomes” were “foreseeable as events have unfolded over several years.” He said that the cost increases are largely because Lockheed and the Pentagon are “trying to invent things and build them at the same time,” leading to costly changes in how the plane is being developed, built and tested. That continues to take “more time, money and effort than budgeted.”

He criticized the Defense Department, saying it “does not have a full, comprehensive cost estimate for completing the program,” and noted that it has “fallen short” of its expectations year after year. He said, “Constant program changes and turbulence have made it difficult to accurately and confidently measure progress and maturity of the aircraft system.”

See also:
Pentagon: F-35 fighter jet cost doubles
UPDATE 2-Price of Lockheed’s F-35 fighter soars
F-35 Fighters Now Double the Cost
Cost of F-35 Has Risen 60% to 90%, Military Says
Pentagon tells Senate panel that F-35 is more than 50 percent over cost
DoD: F-35 costs rise at least 50 percent
Joint Fighter Faces Critical Period
Donley: No JSF Alternatives Exist
Air Force: F-35 jet delayed by 2 years
Air Force: F-35 will be delayed, to cost significantly more
Joint Strike Fighter
F-35 Lightning II | Lockheed Martin
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II
Joint Strike Fighter Program

It continues to amaze me as to how they fit all those government clowns into such a tiny car.

/as far as birds go, it’s quite clear now that one F-22 Raptor, already in the hand, is worth way more than two F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, still in the bush

Disarming America

You just knew this was coming.

Gates Prepares ‘Fundamental Shift’ in Defense Funding Priorities

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates plans to brief congressional leaders and announce Monday a “fundamental shift” in defense spending and priorities, his spokesman said Friday.

The fiscal 2010 funding choices in the announcement will represent the first major defense policy decisions of President Obama’s administration. Specific details of the budget are not expected until the first week of May, but Gates will make the unusual move of announcing several major program decisions weeks ahead of the budget release, according to the spokesman.

“These are not changes to the margins. This is a fundamental shift in direction,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. “And the secretary’s point of view argues for an unconventional approach in explaining that shift to the American people.”

Morrell said that Gates would finalize the decisions over the weekend and brief congressional leaders Monday morning. A press conference will follow.

“The fact of life is that since September 11, 2001, the military has been engaged in irregular warfare activities that require more of our focus, more of our energy, and more of our resources than we have been dedicating to them,” Morrell said. “So Gates is trying to shift between the large scale conventional near peer conflicts that we have to prepare for down the line and the very real conflicts we are engaged in now.”

The timing of the announcement allows Gates to present the strategic rationale for the decisions at once, rather than having individuals criticize the decisions piecemeal as they leak out.

“Gates’ hope is that by revealing it all at once and by explaining it in depth and explaining the strategic rationale for all of these decisions, that people will view it as a whole and not get focused on the individual decisions and not let their parochial interests overcome the fact that it is in our national interests to make these adjustments to the whole of the budget,” Morrell said.

Although Gates repeatedly has warned that no final decisions have been made about specific program cuts, defense officials have noted that some are at serious risk — particularly those that are poor performers or cannot be connected with a current threat.

The programs that many expect to face huge cuts or cancellation include the Army’s Future Combat Systems program; the Transformational Communications Satellite program; the Navy’s DDG-1000 destroyer program; and the VH-71 presidential helicopter program. Some cuts or procurement delays are also expected for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft program..

Ballistic missile defense, which represents the Pentagon’s largest acquisitions program, also could be on the chopping block. Futuristic missile defense components are at particular risk, including the Airborne Laser Program, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, the Space Based Interceptor, along with plans to begin construction on two missile defense sites in Eastern Europe.

See also:
Gates Planning Major Changes In Programs, Defense Budget
Defense Secretary Gates to unveil Pentagon budget Monday
Gates to Submit Defense Budget Review
Defense budget plan could be pushed to May
Obama: Pentagon Budget Cuts Needed
Lockheed, Boeing Weapons Are at Risk as Pentagon Shuts ‘Spigot’
Budget cuts concern contractors
Airborne Laser (ABL)
Airborne Laser
Future Combat Systems (FCS)
Future Combat Systems (FCS)
Ballistic Missile Defense
Missile Defense Agency
US Navy DDG 1000, Admiral Zumwalt class destroyer
DDG-1000 Zumwalt / DD(X)
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Lightning II
Kinetic Energy Interceptors
Kinetic Energy Interceptor
Space-Based Interceptor (SBI)
Transformational Communications Satellite (TSAT)
Special Report: The USA’s Transformational Communications Satellite System (TSAT)
VH-71 Kestrel / Marine One
First Production VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Arrives at Lockheed Martin to Start Final Production Phase

Sure, lets cut missile defense, what a great idea! With Iran building nuclear weapons and North Korea test firing long range missiles, why would we possibly need a missile defense program? Why would the Department of Defense want to, you know, defend our country from attack? Of course, Obama is only fulfilling his campaign promise to unilaterally disarm America, so it’s not like we weren’t warned.

Well, at least now Obama will have the money to pay for sex education for kindergartners while we all live under the threat of a missile attack on our own soil.

/there’s a good reason they’ve been keeping this defense budget process a secret, they know Americans, at least the ones who care about national defense, will absolutely freak out when they find out about all these cuts so Gates and Obama need to make it a fait accompli