Where is Sam Damon?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Support For Lockheed Joint Fighter is 'Very Strong," Gates Says

The pricetag of this project - $298 billion - will probably double once a contract is signed and suddenly a new technology is developed that absolutely must be added to the F-35. This is one of the many reasons why the bottom-up defense appropriations process must be changed. Instead of the Secretary of Defense telling the service secretaries what their budgets are, at the DoD the Secretaries of the Army, Air Force, and Navy, tell the Secretary of Defense what they budgeted for. Then, minimal cuts are made and the DoD budget, second in size only to the Social Security budget, is given to the president.

Although Secretary of Defense Gates has done a great job and fought the Air Force on numerous occasions, his support for the Joint Strike Fighter goes against all of the reform he has been preaching. The Joint Strike Fighter is the epitome of Air Force excess. Less than three years ago, the F-22 Raptor, which the F-35 is supposed to replace, entered service (December 2005). Now the same company that developed the F-22 (Lockheed Martin) is pitching the F-35 to the Air Force and is gaining traction. At a time where there are two wars going on, emerging near peer competitors with inferior MiG based aircraft, and a flailing economy, the F-35 does not seem to be the correct use of government money. To top this off, what are the chances of air to air combat happening anytime soon? Perhaps we should be focusing on the emerging threat of cyber war or other possible forms of war as we leap into the Fifth Generation?

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