Defense

Pentagon Frets Billions in Sequester Cuts But Wastes $1.5 Trillion on Non-Working Fighter Jet

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When it comes to sequester cuts, no member of the Obama administration has been more outspoken and pants-wetting that outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Here he is on a recent Sunday morning show:

"I have to tell you it is irresponsible for it to happen. I mean, why in God's name would members of Congress, elected by the American people, take a step that would badly damage our national defense, but more importantly undermine the support for our men and women in uniform?…If Congress stands back and allows sequester to take place, I think it would really be a shameful and irresponsible act."

courtesy de Rugy/Mercatus Center

Back in 2011, he wrote to Congress about that sequestration could under the worst-case scenario amount to "23 percent" of military spending, which is simply not true. The sequester cuts, should they happen, will at most knock a few tens of billions of dollars off this year's base budget for Defense, bringing the total down below $500 billion.

After which point it will start rising again, despite a much-ballyhooed end to two wars that have been very expensive in terms of lives lost and treasure spent. As the nearby chart prepared by Reason columnist and Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy shows, the sequester means cumulative defense spending through 2021 would total $4.8 trillion instead of $5.3 trillion. Even the U.S. government would sign off on whatever torture Panetta is using on basic math. 

And here's a reminder: About half of the $85 billion sequester cuts will come from defense spending. But only about half of those spending cuts—$44 billion— will happen in fiscal year 2013. So we're looking at an immediate cut in planned defense spending of something on the order of $20 billion. 

In any case, should the sequester cuts happen, they come after Defense's base budget—which doesn't include war spending, a variety of Homeland Security bits, and other supplemental expenditures—rose by 40 percent over the past decade or so, from $397 billion in 2001 to around $550 billion this year. Because military personnel is exempted from the sequester (as is war funding and a bunch of other stuff), there's no reason to sweat our preparedness over such trims. And, as the Congressional Budget Office notes in its recent budget outlook document, milit

courtesy National Review.

ary outlays subject to budget cap limits are expected to increase from $518 billion in 2014 to $576 billion in 2021. Over the same time frame, total defense spending (which includes war spending), will jump 14 percent, rom $593 billion to $679 billion (all figures in current dollars; see Table 1-5).

Can we get a show of hands of people who would like to see their salary growth subect to such a "shameful" expansion?

In his 2011 missive to Congress, Panetta warns of all manner of things that will have to be cut should the sequester happen. Among his laundry list of complaints, he notes that the U.S. could end up with "the smallest tactical fighter force in the history of the Air Force."

It's not exactly clear what that means or why it matters. But it may not be such a bad thing if taxpayers started funding fewer fighter jets. The Fiscal Times notes that last Friday (the traditional day to dump bad news), the Pentagon announced that it was grounding its F-35 fighter jets, which were approved during the Clinton administration (look it up kids). Fiscal Times reports:

This was the second time in two months the plane has been taken out of service….after this latest failure, the problems with the F-35 are simply too numerous to ignore.

Equally impossible to ignore is the $1.5 trillion price tag for one of the biggest failures in Pentagon history. $1.5 trillion is the cost of operating the air craft for 55 years, an amount that has been consistently increased as the program drags on. It's the most expensive weapons system the Pentagon has ever commissioned. And as problems mount, there are growing concerns that the F-35 will never fly a combat mission.

courtesy Mercatus Center

Because of competing claims among service branches, the Marines, the Navy, and the Air Force all got their own, specially tricked out versions, each of which is dysfunctional in its own way:

The Pentagon ordered nearly 2,500 planes for $382 billion, or fifty percent more than the original cost.

As the price soared, the Pentagon in 2010 deemed the program "too big to fail." Yet it continues to fall short. Recent engine troubles are just the latest in a series of mechanical failures. A pilot was killed when oxygen to the cabin was cut off. The aircraft are running too hot, limiting their ability to operate in warm environments.

The original delivery date was supposed to be 2010. Then it was delayed until 2012. Now, it's not expected to be in service until 2019.

And there's this kicker: "If the F-35 order is filled, DOD will have 15 times as many planes as China." And 20 times as many as Russia.

So that's the Pentagon culture, ladies and gents. Willing to bitch and moan and drag its heels over its share of sequester cuts—and willing to go to the mat to protect a non-functioning, over-budget, and tactically outdated fighter jet. If Defense can't complete its mission to protect America after March 1, it's not because of a rounding error taken out of its budget. It's because of leadership that has never learned how to gets its priorities straight.

And even as Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) join Panetta in his pity party, here are "3 Reasons Conservatives Should Defense Spending Now!"



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  1. First, bitches.

    1. just as Daniel said I cant believe that anyone can earn $8297 in one month on the computer. did you see this site… http://www.Snag4.com

  2. Yeah, I’ve always been skeptical of the F35, because most multirole aircraft are either bad at everything, or expensive and good at one thing primarily, with the other functions an afterthought.

    1. Yep – hundreds of billions for a plane that is only slightly better than what it is replacing.

      Boeing would gladly have sold the services F15 Silent Eagles for half the unit cost of the F35 and ZERO development costs.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B…..lent_Eagle

      The F15E is much faster, has much more range, carries a larger payload, and is as stealthy from the front as the F35.

      Which would you choose if it was your money?

      1. Which would you choose if it was your money?

        Those Sukhoi SU-37(s)! Beautiful aircraft!

        http://tinyurl.com/bznf36f

        1. They must have skimped on the website.

          1. Well thank god that Boeings video and Power Point skills are so good!

        2. Those Sukhoi SU-37(s)! Beautiful aircraft!

          Pretty, but guarantee of airworthiness is not included with sale, and isn’t available as an option.

          1. Well they absolutely fly the shit out of MiG-15, 17, 19(s) etc. at various air shows. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that their engineering skills have improved a bit since the 1950s!

            1. Well they absolutely fly the shit out of MiG-15, 17, 19(s) etc. at various air shows.

              Wow, that’s a really tall order….

              There ability to do neat shit at air shows is irrelevant, especially in relation to 50-60 year-old aircraft.

              I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that their engineering skills have improved a bit since the 1950s!

              Their (aeronautical) engineering was never that bad, their ability to build anything sophisticated (like a plane or ship) that is reliable has always sucked and hasn’t improved lately. Their ability to build aircraft to a Western standard of systems integration and electronics has also never been good.

              Russian aircraft perform poorly against Western aircraft of equivalent generation. A big part of it is training, but even when that is equalized (such as when German Mig-29s inherited from East Germany are used in exercises) Russian aircraft can only win in simulations when the odds are stacked heavily in their favor (such as disallowing American aircraft to use radar).

              1. Which would you choose if it was your money?

                He didn’t ask which one I would take into battle or spend tax dollars on he asked “Which would you choose if it was your money?”.

                My statement stands! I think it would be pretty cool to have an SU-37!

      2. Plus I think we’re at the point where weapons are far more important then platform. A 1960s B-52 had gravity bombs. That same BUFF, still flying, now can be loaded with JSOWs and fuck up a whole armored regiment.

        It doesn’t matter that the F-15 is a little long in the tooth, because an AMRAAM has 50 mile range.

        The airframe is secondary to improvements in weapons, sensors, avionics, powerplants, etc. New airframes are expensive, which is bad for the country but wonderful for bringing home that sweet federal pork to your district.

      3. The Silent Eagle wouldn’t last 10 seconds in 5th Generation Battlespace.

        1. As opposed to the 11 seconds the F35 will last? And how long before they invent “6th Generation Battlespace” and they are all obsolete?

          When exactly is this “Battlespace” going to happen?

          1. Ah, so now we begin to understand.

            There will ALWAYS be the next generation battle space. The only way to defend against it is if you are the country developing it.

            It takes 20 years to design and field a new fighter. If you dump the F-35 now, you will be unable to defend yourself from current generation systems for 20 years.

            NO ONE can predict who will have what, who sells what to whom OR who our allies will be 20 years down the road.

            1. It’s obviously too late to dump the F35. It should have been dumped when it was just a bad idea in the 90’s.

            2. NO ONE can predict who will have what, who sells what to whom OR who our allies will be 20 years down the road.

              Come one, FA, by this standard we need to spend our entire budgets on potential future threats. There isn’t a nation on the planet, besides us, that has even 4th Generation battlespace, much less will develop 5th probably ever. There is a spending issue here, and besides us not having the money, no one else does either.

              1. Not even close to accurate. Both the Chinese and Russians are currently developing and flying 5th generation fighters. They can sell them to whomever they want. And you can bet your ass, that over the next 30 years, they will.

                BUT, fighters aren’t even half the story. The REAL threat is Surface to Air Missiles. The currently fielded double digit SAMs are so good, there is no gen 4 aircraft that can survive engagements with them. They are relatively cheap, they are mobile and they will be sold.

                The F-22/35 were pretty much developed to operate in these environments and be able to take these threats out.

                And again. You don’t build a fighter to be able to compete with today’s threat. It must be able to take out the threat 20-30 years from now, because that’s how long it takes to develop a new one.

                1. Or we can deploy swarms of drones that can perform SEAD at a fraction of the cost. Use stealthy UCAVs with swarms of cheaper ones in accompanying them. Radar lights up, you hit it. Doesn’t matter if you lose one of the cheap drones.

                  Change the paradigm, don’t live in the past. The Chinese are not going to build 12 carriers and have a naval battle with us. They’re going to look for ways to counter the US Navy without building an equivalently sized fleet.

                  We have this thing where we like Excalibur, we like the perfectly honed machine. Which is the best way to do it when their is a man riding it. When there is a human pilot you have an obligation to give him the best possible aircraft.

                  But for one F-35 you can get a swarm of capable and flexible drones. You can do everything it does, and it will be cheaper and more survivable because it doesn’t matter if the SAM site kills one drone, because the other 20 in the sky are going to pound it to ash.

                  1. Or we can deploy swarms of drones that can perform SEAD at a fraction of the cost. Use stealthy UCAVs with swarms of cheaper ones in accompanying them. Radar lights up, you hit it. Doesn’t matter if you lose one of the cheap drones.

                    This.

                    The future of aerial warfare is the UAV.

                    For that matter, the future of all warfare is robotics, and it really isn’t that far away (most of the remotely-operated shit already exists).

                  2. I couldn’t agree more Virginian. I’m fairly certain this is the last generation of manned aircraft. UCAV is probably not even the future as I don’t think it necessary. I foresee flying sensors and weapons capable of taking out targets a thousand miles away. The delivery platform won’t need to be anywhere near the battlespace.

                    But, it’s not a reality yet and won’t be ready till the next gen.

                    And then our adversaries will catch up and we’ll need to develop defenses against the new shit…

                    Wash
                    Rinse
                    Repeat…

                    Each iteration being more expensive than the last.

                    1. I finally agree with you.

                      I’m sure if I should be relieved or worried that it’s all drones going forward.

            3. You might want to just build yourself a bunker, FdA.

    2. I call the F-35 the triple MacNamara.

      He only tried to combine in the F-111 a Air Force bomber with a Navy fighter. After big cost overruns he managed to get the Air Force version built but the Navy punted and built the F-14 instead

      1. And the Vark was a great low altitude penetrating bomber. But the characteristics that make a plane great at that mean it will be a piss poor fighter. Which is obvious to anyone remotely intelligent. Which leaves out Robert McNamara.

    3. See Shuttle, Space.

  3. A trillion is a lot of money. We could buy out the Middle East for money like that. Here, we’ll just buy your country.

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_wealth

      A trillion dollars will get you a Singapore or one quarter of a Taiwan. I imagine it would buy you several of the shittier ME countries. Probably not the whole ME, though.

  4. While I completely agree with the point of the article, I should note that the Fiscal Times report is riddled with errors about the F-35. It has never crashed (the oxygen issue is with the F-22). It’s still an enormous boondoggle, and a lousy choice (it was the wrong choice when the political decision was made in the nineties to reject Boeing’s alternative). Also, what Virginian said.

    1. I don’t think the Boeing aircraft would be much better since it suffers the same problem One aircraft which is suppose supply three different versions, one taking off and landing on mile long runways, one vertically taking off and landing and one being catapulted and arrestor landing on aircraft carriers. All three are forced to have the same outward appearance which is not optimized for any particular role and at the same time have major internal differences which negate having the same design.

      Plus the Boeing aircraft was butt ugly.

      Plus,plus I agree about the oxygen issue, that is the F-22, the F-35 on the other hand probably does not have enough flight time to see if it has the same problem.

      1. There is always a period of shakeout the kinks in any new aircraft – the Osprey went through it and the new Boeing airliners are in the middle of it.

        The real issue is that we paid a trillion for a revolutionary design – and got the same results we would have by evolving our current aircraft at a fraction of the cost.

        1. Only sorta true Drake. It is true that, performance wise, the F-35 isn’t much better than the aircraft it’s replacing.

          HOWEVER, the advancement in avionics and it’s ability to survive (in a real conflict) is VASTLY superior.

        2. In the case of the V-22, that kink period was about 20 years. And it still fucking sucks. If you look at it the wrong way, the ice protection system bursts into flames.

          1. They foisted a single-engine new design on the Navy and Marines. I wonder how many $200 million planes are going to end up in the drink.

            1. Seriously. Carrier ops are so different from land based that it doesn’t make any sense to design fixed wing aircraft to do both. It will be compromised from the start.

              1. The Phantom did it reasonably well, but it was a Navy project that the Air Force was forced to buy.

                1. Yeah you can take a carrier bird and it will work fine from the ground, but trying to take a bird designed for a five or six thousand foot runway and fly it off the boat is a whole other story.

              2. But using one platform was supposed to be cheaper! Yeah, that worked out real well.

                1. They are actually 3 different aircraft with a whole bunch of interchangeable parts (to save money). Their intentions were good…(that’s all that counts right?)

                  I think where it all went to shit is that too many cooks spoil the stew.

                  All new systems overrun. Can anyone think of a program in recent memory that hasn’t? The acquisition system is not set up to deal well with unforeseen consequences and Contractors notoriously underestimate and underbid in order to win the contracts.

  5. no member of the Obama administration has been more outspoken and pants-wetting that outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

    here are “3 Reasons Conservatives Should Defense Spending Now!”

    Did we get Lucy back?

  6. I appreciate that there’s all sorts of waste in the military, and no doubt a lot of it has to do with research and the procurement of various kinds of weaponry. But there are other kinds of waste that really aren’t talked about a lot, but that might catch the public’s imagination even more than wasting money on weapons systems…

    For instance, I count 124 golf courses located on military bases in 41 states from this website, militarygolfcourseguide.com

    http://www.militarygolfcourseg…..tm#alabama

    Somebody explain to me why it’s necessary for the Pentagon to keep and run 124 golf courses on military bases all over the country?

    I’m no Pentagon budget wonk, but if they’re spending money on all those military base golf courses, then they’re probably spending money on a lot of other things that aren’t really necessary, too.

    1. Without golf the terrorists win?

    2. That’s the best you can do?

      I’ve played some of those course – after paying the greens fees. (The fees go up with rank which should appeal to those of you with a Progressive attitude.)

      The land is free (it would be field and woods on a base otherwise), the cost after fees probably isn’t much, and it is an outlet for troops stationed in the middle of nowhere.

      1. Middle of nowhere?

        I found out about this after looking at where I grew up In Laurel, Md. with the satellite view on Google Maps. I went, “Wow, they put a golf course there?” But then I realized I was looking at Fort Meade! Fort Meade isn’t in the middle of nowhere.

        Go look at the list again–those golf courses are not in the middle of nowhere!

        I’m seeing a golf course on prime real estate on Whidbey Island in Seattle; look at the courses in Virgina–those aren’t in the middle of nowhere.

        You might find an example of one in the middle of nowhere somewhere, but then take a look at the golf course on Cape Cod, and the three golf courses in Hawaii. You think service members can’t find anything to do with themselves in Hawaii?

        “The land is free (it would be field and woods on a base otherwise)”

        As a commercial real estate guy, I’m here to tell you that the land isn’t free. In fact, if you want to sell me that land, I’ll pay you a whole hell of a lot more than free for it.

        If the Pentagon looks at that land as free, then the Pentagon has far too much land.

        1. It’s sort of hard to sell the land between the barracks and the firing ranges.

          1. I’ll reconfigure this course and put luxury condos all around–overlooking the ocean. Just let me make an offer.

            http://www.navylifepnw.com/_Ra…..es/Gallery Golf Course/index.html

            You think the area between the barracks and the firing ranges was voted the “Best of Whidbey” three years in a row?

            http://www.navylifepnw.com/sit…..ourse.aspx

            1. I’ve played Lejeune, Dix, and Picatinny Arsenal. No way to get to any of those without being passed through security at the main gate and going to the heart of the base.

              1. Why did they stop with just a gold course?

                Maybe they should put in a whole spa!

                Get some massage therapists in there. Do some Reiki.

                You know what they need is there own ski resorts in Colorado!

                It would only be a drop in the bucket.

              2. “No way to get to any of those without being passed through security at the main gate and going to the heart of the base.”

                And yet they’re open to the public, right?

                1. I’ve been out for a few years – but after 911 – absolutely not. Without a military ID (or contractor or retiree badge) you weren’t getting on a base as of 2007. I was able to sign my wife in as a guest.

                  1. According to the website I linked

                    “Many military courses have now opened play to civilians and veterans. Check each course for their policy.”

                    http://www.militarygolfcourseguide.com/

                    That’s how they justify their excesses. We’re providing a service to the general public!

                    It’s prolly bullshit. The general public hardly knows these courses exist.

            2. Oh noes!!111!!! the sailors have a nice golf course!!!! Horrors!!

              Jeebus, you’re like Tulpa with your single-minded idiocy.

              I’ll reconfigure this course and put luxury condos all around–overlooking the ocean. Just let me make an offer.

              Yeah, like that wouldn’t present problems. There has never been any potential of corruption in public to private land sales, like evah.

              You think the area between the barracks and the firing ranges was voted the “Best of Whidbey” three years in a row?

              From the the Google Maps view it appears to be between the barracks and the airfield. I can’t make out the range (they may not have one).

              This is fucking stupid Ken, seriously. If this came before a Congressional hearing the only things that would happen is that the courses would be closed and the already miniscule MWR funding would be cut, fucking service members. The giant budget gobbling line items like maintaining bases in free countries and bloated crap projects with billion-dollar overruns wouldn’t be touched.

              1. “Oh noes!!111!!! the sailors have a nice golf course!!!! Horrors!!”

                Honestly, I don’t want my taxes going to provide sailors with cheap tee-times.

                “Yeah, like that wouldn’t present problems. There has never been any potential of corruption in public to private land sales, like evah.”

                If you’re saying that government assets should never be privatized becasue that might lead to corruption, then you’re saying that government assets should never be privatized–and from a libertarian standpoint, that’s just plain stupid.

                From the the Google Maps view it appears to be between the barracks and the airfield. I can’t make out the range (they may not have one).

                The picture I linked puts in along the ocean. And if that one doesn’t work, I bet there are plenty others that will.

                “The giant budget gobbling line items like maintaining bases in free countries and bloated crap projects with billion-dollar overruns wouldn’t be touched.”

                I’m not advocating leaving the billion-dollar overruns untouched. I’m talking about appealing to the public on this. The way you sell Pentagon budget cuts to the public is the same way you sell Wall Street regulation to the public. You publicize the excesses, and then you go after what you want. The Pentagon spends tons of money on shit that WILL NOT lead the disintegration of the military. Get that through the general public’s heads, and maybe we’ll make some progress.

                1. You might also be appalled to know there is a supermarket on base. There are schools. Tennis courts, several gyms, gas station, a retail store(BX), a recreation center, a food court, Burger King, banquet hall, arts and crafts center, auto hobby shops.

                  Simply an outrage.

                  What are you going to do with the golf courses? Housing developments underneath the traffic pattern? Constant noise? The occasional jet falling on you?

                  Most of the above are to accommodate the young airmen/soldiers who are required to live on base. You can can all of it as far as I’m concerned but, as I said, it’s a drop in the bucket.

                  Most of the golf courses are shitholes, anyway.

                  1. Your last point is the most salient one – the vast majority of military courses are total goat tracks are put to shame by even average muni courses. Honestly, Leon Pannetta’s jaunts home to Monterey every weekend probably cost more than the upkeep on all those courses.

                    1. Apparently, there’s a really nice military golf course at the base in Monterey Bay. Maybe Panetta’s flying home on the weekends to play golf?

                    2. The Guantanamo Bay golf course was so chewed up by Haitian refugee tent city then drought – they gave the golfers a strip of astro turf carry around and hit off of whenever your ball lands somewhere too shitty.

                  2. Shut them down and turn the land into whatever they would be if they had a military application instead of being golf courses–for all I care!

                    Point is that we–those of us who want to see smaller government–should be talking about the excesses, just like the people on the left make issues out of apparent excesses when it behooves something they’re trying to accomplish.

                    The Pentagon wants to cry about how devastating it’s going to be to not have as big of a growing budget as they expected? Then let’s start talking about all their freaking golf courses!

                    And believe me, if they can afford to keep assets like 124 golf courses on their books, then they can afford to cut a lot of other fat, too. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

                    And the way the left wins plays like this in the game of public opinion is by making a big deal out of symbolic stuff like this. From Kozlowski’s shower curtain to Zimmerman and Martin–if you want to make a difference in public opinion, you harp on symbolic stuff–if that’s all you think it is.

                    In regards to a drop in the bucket, I agree that making the Pentagon divest itself of its golf courses isn’t about to right the budget–but there are a million little things like this throughout government. Everybody’s got a rationalization for why giving up their little bite at paycheck isn’t enough to right the ship–but it all adds up.

                    It all adds up.

        2. To answer your question Ken, that money comes out of a different bucket than weapon acquisition and is truly a drop in the bucket when compared to what the real money is spent on. You don’t really believe that congress doles out a chunk of money every year and the branches decide their priorities do you?

          Payroll, healthcare, retirees, operations, acquisition are the biggies.

          1. Among other things, I’m talking about capturing the public’s imagination here.

            When the left wants to go after some high flying CEO somewhere, they start writing about how he flies around in a private jet. They talk about Kozlowski spending $6,000 on a shower curtain.

            Most people don’t realize that the military has 124 golf courses to choose from. I’ve seen one major corporation that had a golf course on its corporate headquarters for employees to use–but they were a golf club manufacturer.

            I’m not saying that shutting down 124 golf courses is about to solve the Pentagon’s overspending problem–but having 124 golf courses is emblematic of how out of control their spending and assumptions about what’s appropriate spending really has become.

            I’d love to see a Pentagon official go in front of a Senate committee and explain how having 124 golf courses isn’t really a problem–because it’s only a drop in the bucket–on national television. If a corporate executive made that argument after a bailout? He’d be laughed out of the Senate and indicted for something or other–for sure.

            1. Again, It is only the difference between the greens fees collected and the cost of running the courses that hits the budget. What the number is, I have no idea, but I’m am going to guess it’s tiny.

            2. “I’ve seen one major corporation that had a golf course on its corporate headquarters for employees to use”

              Lucent had a 9-hole golf course at its NJ headquarters. They built it during the late-90s tech boom, when their stock was high.

        3. I’ll second that. I live in Annapolis, MD, home of the US Naval Academy for anyone who’s not familiar. Navy has some land on the other side of the Severn River from the Academy where they have a base, a PX, and a pretty nice golf course situated on a peninsula between Mill Creek and the Severn, overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. Houses in the area, like in the immediate area, go for anywhere from the low 800s up; and those are the crappy ones.

          Now, sure, it’s on a peninsula, and there’s base between it and the water. But you know what? The land on the other side of the river that’s filled with base housing is also worth a pretty penny. Dump the course and put the base housing in its place (there’s plenty of room, you could even add more) and all of a sudden you’ve got a few square miles of waterfront/water access property within walking distance of “Historic Downtown Annapolis”. And if you’re thinking, “So, what can you get for a few square miles,” keep in mind that a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath townhouse in the area will probably go for about $750,000. We put San Francisco to shame when it comes to property values.

          And, believe me, it’s not as if there’s a shortage of golf courses in the Annapolis area.

          1. I know a guy that does nothing but go around to money losing public golf courses and convinces city councils to let him come in, reconfigure the course and put houses/condos all around it–for a share of the profits.

            All you need is access. If the Pentagon wants to hear my proposal, I can have a business plan and financing in place within a week. Just sign my LOI and we’re in business.

            1. All you need is access.

              So, basically this whole pitch-a-fit about fucking golf courses is really just an attempt at moral justification so you can make money?

              What was that I said about ethical conflicts above? This is an example of it.

              Now, should the military/government start selling off the huge tracts of unused land and buildings at public auction, sure.

              1. So, basically this whole pitch-a-fit about fucking golf courses is really just an attempt at moral justification so you can make money?

                No, as I’ve said numerous times in this thread, the point is to sell deep cuts to the Pentagon’s budget to the general public.

                What you said about the ethical conflicts of privatizing government is stupid.

        4. What most of you don’t seem to realize is that most of these bases were in the middle of nowhere at one time. These things were built long ago because there were no facilities extant, or they were not capable of absorbing the extra people. Add in that in the past people didn’t want the lowlife military people in their clubs. And that’s the white guys. Blacks couldn’t do shit off base in a lot of the country until the late 60’s. Also MWR runs these things (golf courses, movie theaters, clubs), from non-appropriated money. If you’re going to play the libertarian game, you have to look past the surface.
          Oh, and as far as the JSF goes: Too ambitious by far. If it gets to service it will be a world beater, but it will never live up to its promised performance two reasons. 1. Too many compromises because of the STOVL variant. 2. Lockheed sucks at software. See the F-22 and the C-130J.
          I’m not sure it will be worth the cost, honestly.

    3. Let’s not forget the “jobs” funded by all this largess. I’m sure every 5-10 jobs filled under the DoD could easily be replaced with 1 and no one would notice a difference except that the day shift manager at Wendy’s is now a pissed off cold warrior. Flinging burgers is more productive than what he was doing before.

      1. I used to complain that there were 700k civilian employees in the DoD – now I here there are 800k. When did this happen? What kind of mad hiring spree were they on over the last couple of years?

        1. They just fill cubes. 80% of them are surfing the internet all day. Meetings are called for the sake of saying staff attended a meeting. And I don’t think this even counts the contracting staff under their civilian overlords. In total, it’s got to be ~5 million wasted lives in that soul grinder.

          As far as WHY…well I’m assuming Obama could tout his ability to “create jobs” if he just let people get soaked up by that shit-filled sponge. And that is ONE department. FUCK.

          I really need to stop drinking before noon. I need to start before 8.

          1. The Democratic senatorial candidate here in Virginia last year (now-Senator Kaine) had attack ads run against him because he did so much as mention cutting the military–which the ad claim would threaten jobs in Northern Virginia. The connection is made quite explicitly nowadays.

          2. FACT.

            The bullshit the military wastes its time on in a given day is a travesty. The most inefficient entity on the face of the planet. Meaningless program after meaningless program.

            Anyone who claims profit motive doesn’t drive efficiency, I simply point to the US Military.

      1. Fuck that prick. Of all the lionized Presidents, he’s the worst. A retard from a “good” family who somehow turned his gross negligence into a story of his own heroism.

        Seriously, it was a wonderful day when he got killed.

        1. Wrong: FDR is the worst.

  7. The sequestration cuts won’t touch the F35 program. The Infantry will train without ammo, and paratroopers will wonder what it’s like to jump out of a plane, but nothing will touch that political gravy train.

    1. Dude

      Without the F-35 (and F-22) the infantry won’t need ammo and the paratrooper will never make it to their drop zones. This nation has had Air Supremacy for so long, we start to think of it as a given. It isn’t. The Army is able to take and hold ground ONLY because there are no enemy aircraft strafing and dropping bombs on them. There hasn’t been a soldier killed by enemy aircraft since 1952. If you let the Air Force atrophy, that will cease to be the case.

      1. I guess we’ll have to disagree on what “atrophy” means.

        1. If your adversary has better shit than you do, to the point where you can no longer do your job, I’d call that atrophy.

          A force using 4th gen shit cannot beat a force using 5th gen shit. It is a LEAP in technology.

          1. If your adversary has better shit than you do, to the point where you can no longer do your job, I’d call that atrophy.

            This is pure fantasy. Who the fuck is fielding these threats? The Chinese have two fighters that are the equivalent of the F-14, no Phoenix Missiles, and so they will have a fleet of F-35 equivalents in 20 years?

            1. Your data is dated my friend.

              T-50

              J-20

              And the double digit SAMs have been around for a while.

              1. But Kopp’s assessment of the T-50 comes with caveats. Quite a few of them, actually.

                No, it really hasn’t changed much in twenty years.

                Even if you ignore all of the caveats, you still do not show the industrial, intellectual or financial capital to produce anything but a Potemkin Weapons System.

                This happened throughout the ’80’s too, when the Soviets were actually spending a ton more than they do now. Weapons systems actual abilities exaggerated to continue the funding gravy train. Just like with submarines or tanks.

          2. Think of it like this FA. The Navy makes exactly the same type claims about next generation submarines. Like with the Air Force, we are already ahead of all potential competition when it comes to subs. Should we spend a few trillion on new ones because no one knows what the future holds?

            1. Don’t forget the Littoral Combat Ship program either.

              1. Which so far is a complete and total piece of garbage.

            2. Should we spend a few trillion on new ones because no one knows what the future holds?

              Two options.

              1. Yes
              2. Develop a better mouse trap that makes the previous paradigm irrelevant. (e.g. aircraft as a weapons delivery system will soon be unneeded. In the near future we’ll be able to fly the weapons themselves to their targets and for a fraction of the price.)

          3. Aren’t the F22’s supposed to clear out those threats while the F35’s haul bombs?

            Everything I’ve heard, the F35 sucks as an air superiority fighter.

            1. The F-35 IS NOT an air superiority fighter. The two systems (22/35) were developed in tandem. One an Air Supremacy fighter (F-22) the F-35 is an air to ground platform with self defense capability. One a replacement for the F-15 and the other a replacement for the F-16. Two entirely different missions.

              1. Then why are we trying to force Australia and Japan to buy the damn things when we refused to sell them F-22’s?

                Are we just fucking over our allies with this lemon?

          4. And who is going to have 5th gen shit other than the enemies in your head?

      2. There hasn’t been a soldier killed by enemy aircraft since 1952.

        No need. The AF has been doing a bang up job.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Ramp_disaster

        1. I was near OP4 when the Air Force arrived and started randomly shooting up Marines.
          http://www.marines.mil/Portals…..tions/U.S. Marines in Battle Al-Khafji PCN 106000400_3.pdf

          After that, we declined Air Force CAS for the rest of the war. Navy and Marine air were much more discerning.

  8. It is a marvel of modern social engineering that the DoD is able to operate at this level of financial impunity.

  9. Nick

    I love you, man, but you really need to hire someone who’s been in the military and can explain to you why things are as they are so you don’t continue to make a complete fucking ass of yourself with the bullshit you are spewing. You truly don’t know what you think you know and your readers a disservice. You have NO CONCEPT of how the acquisition system works (dictated by Congress) nor one shred of insight into long term strategy.

    While I agree, the military can and should be cut, if you do not do it correctly, you will end up with a pile of dysfunctional shit.

    Your article is full of half truths and spin and is quite frankly, the kind of shit you get over at the biased outlets.

    For a site called Reason…

    Fucking read this and educate yourself:

    Air Force Cuts Mean Service Is ‘Slowly Going Out of Business’

    1. Out of idle curiosity, which are the half truths?

      Would an in-depth knowledge of the acquisition system make blowing $1.5 trillion on the F-35 look like a good idea at the time, which unfortunately turned out badly?

      1. 1. The F-35 is still in Flight Test. They do regular inspections to ensure the plane is doing what it was designed to do. They found a cracked turbine blade. Cracked blades happen. TO ALL JETS at one time or another. It can be a structural defect or it could be that the engine simply ingested a foreign object and dinged the blade. They paused testing to make sure. Blowing up into something it may not be to make a point is yellow journalism.

        2. He makes a snide remark:

        the Pentagon announced that it was grounding its F-35 fighter jets, which were approved during the Clinton administration (look it up kids).

        Proves he has no idea what he’s talking about. Do the critics have any clue what is happening when these machines are invented? This isn’t a new model car we are talking about here. This is completely new technology. The most advanced machines EVER CREATED BY HUMANS. PERIOD! It takes 20 years to go from development to fielding. And there are ALWAYS unforeseen problems. You find them and you fix them.

        I would never claim the process is efficient. It certainly is far from that, but the inefficiencies are dictated to the services through Congress. The rules/regs/laws in place to ensure Congressional power is maintained are staggering. So essentially Congress dictates the most inefficient process on the planet and then turns around and blames the services for being inefficient.

      2. Whenever someone trots out the $1.5 trillion figure, you can be sure that they are reverse gold watch-ing it for their argument’s sake. You add up any system over 55 years it’ll appear to be an ungodly amount since you lose any sense of context. It would be more appropriate to focus on total fleet production cost as well as price per tail. I’m by no means saying the F-35 is cheap, but it’s much more appropriate to look at the price per copy when comparing it to any alternatives out there.

    2. Says the guy who believes the branches should be rolled into one service….

      Sigh.

      1. Yes, you certainly wouldn’t want to consolidate admin functions or eliminate overlap…

        1. Yes, you certainly wouldn’t want to consolidate admin functions or eliminate overlap…

          You can consolidate admin functions without creating the People’s Liberation Army/Navy. Reference, DFAS.

          We already have enough problems inside the respective services with people from other warfare communities coming in and thinking they are going to run shit the same way. The Marines are the worst offender in the regard (artillery officers becoming infantry regiment commanders, armor to artillery, etc), but I saw very similar and equally idiotic horseshit when I was in the Navy, such as a (thankfully short-lived) run of a floater Rear Upper commanding a fucking sub group.

          Certainly commands could be consolidated inside the respective branches. SubGru 10 had two squadrons (and the respective squadron HQs) with a grand total of six boats between them when I was in. One of those squadrons could quite easily have been disbanded and the 2 boats in it rolled into the other Subron.

          What you are suggesting is the Hammer of Retard when the Filet Knife of Finesse would accomplish similar cost reduction without cross-specialization derpitude.

    3. I love Nick too, and you may be right, but Reason is mostly a propaganda site now. There’s some reason here and there, but if you read Krayewski, Feeney, and Richman regularly you know they’re not journalists or concerned citizens, but paid propagandists.

      1. What the hell are you talking about?

        1. I’m talking about the agendas being propagandized by Reason.com

          You read Reason regularly?

  10. Here is a older PDF showing what the US Army Corps of Engineers is doing in Europe, Israel and Africa with your tax dollars. The same stuff is being done today.

    http://www.g2mil.com/EuropeDistNAU.pdf

    1. Shit….I guess those lame Navy commercials are right….we are a GLOBAL FORCE FOR GOOD!

      At least in the construction arena.

    2. It’s only been 24 years since the fall of the Berlin wall and 68 years since VE day.

      The US has to secure the peace in Europe and support its NATO partners. R2P and all that.

      McCain wasn’t exaggerating when he was talking about 100 years of ME military involvement post Iraq. He was low-balling the estimate.

      1. Why are we still in Europe with anything more than a few exchange troops and joint training operations?

  11. I have to tell you it is irresponsible for it to happen. I mean, why in God’s name would members of Congress, elected by the American people, take a step that would badly damage our national defense . .

    So, the Democratic Party is finally apologizing for putting Fidel Castro’s buddy Ron Dellums in ranking positions on committees with oversight over our National Defense?

  12. Needs to be audited and maybe accountants should have more sway in purchasing orders than the generals.

    1. Generals do not make purchasing decisions. Congress and the DOD bureaucracy does.

      Which is why things are so expensive, and take so long. Take the small arms programs. Every so often they have a contest to replace the M16. But instead of grabbing 100 people from each service and driving them out to a range with a shit ton of ammo, they do paper studies. Then more studies. Then the Congresscritters start dividing up the pork. This goes on for years. Finally after millions or billions have been spent, Congress kills the program because of the cost WHICH THEY FUCKING CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE and we keep using the M16. Which is fine, because it’s a good weapon. But all that money is wasted.

      1. Those tests are laughably fake – they don’t even try to test against service rifles from other militaries.

        1. Damn it Drake we need an 18 pound futuristic brick with a computerized sight and airbust grenades. We can’t just teach people to shoot better. MUST HAVE NEW TECHNOLOGY!

          1. We also can’t just have Marines and Rangers sample the G36, Tavor, FN F2000, and a few others and see if they are significantly better than the M16 family. Nope.

            Instead, some eggheads who have never fired a rifle write giant set of requirements to carefully exclude all of them. Then bolt on some prohibitively expensive shit, run some tests, and proclaim M4 the greatest weapon ever produced.

      2. Gotta have those sheep specs.

      3. Who was it that decided to change the Army’s headgear a decade back? Or to change the uniform camouflage of each service?

        I read somewhere they order the wrong kind of caps and wasted a couple of million. That was Congress making these decisions?

        1. The services make their own decisions on uniforms. The Marines were the first to replace the old woodland pattern with the MARPAT digitals in 2002. After we did that, the other services all wanted their own, too.

          1. The Army fucked up the ACU by the numbers. Somehow the Marine Corps can take input from Marines, but the Army can’t talk to actual soldiers about such things.

          2. MARPAT would have been a great pattern for both services if the Marines had left the chicken and globe shit out of it.

            1. The Army couldn’t figure out how to copy it without the Eagle Globe and Anchor? Maybe put in a mule or something? How can that be too hard?

              Instead they go with a bright grey uniform that I could see at twice the distance through the brush as the old woodland cammo.

        2. Who was it that decided to change the Army’s headgear a decade back?

          That was Shinseki’s doing.

  13. Panetta should be stripped naked and put on display in a six by six by six cage on the Mall, so people can throw rotten fruit at him for a small fee.

    1. I don’t know Brooks, seems like chucking rotten fruit at that career tax eater should be considered a civic duty…..just another price we pay for civilization!

  14. I have to tell you it is irresponsible for it to happen. I mean, why in God’s name would members of Congress, elected by the American people, take a step that would badly damage our national defense, but more importantly undermine the support for our men and women in uniform?

    The truly reprehensible part is that nobody laughed out loud when he said this.

  15. Air Force Cuts Mean Service Is ‘Slowly Going Out of Business’

    Good.

    Why the fuck do we even need “fighter planes”?

    1. Not takin the bait, Brooksie.

  16. But all that money is wasted.

    Not if it put your kids through college, and shut your wife up by putting her in a nice big house, with a Mercedes to drive to the tennis club.

  17. Steep cuts are needed when a country has a government debt that is over 84% of GDP. No way around it!

    1. Agreed. There is a right way to cut the military and there is a wrong way.

      The right way is to embrace a noninterventionist foreign policy, rather than being the world’s cop. You fund and equip your military based upon the types of conflicts you are most likely to become engaged in when following such a policy.

      1. You fund and equip your military based upon the types of conflicts you are most likely to become engaged in when following such a policy.

        But you seem immune to the idea that anyone would ever have an incentive to exaggerate this. The Russians or the Chinese are likely to attempt expansion across the globe rather than next door? If we have a non-interventionist stance, our only potential enemies for the foreseeable future are the Mexicans or Canadians.

        1. The Russians or the Chinese are likely to attempt expansion across the globe rather than next door?

          Have you looked at a map recently? Russia is next door to everything.

          Also China is all over Africa and Latin America, so apparently they are already attempting expansion across the globe.

        2. I’m sorry, but you lost most Americans with the word “noninterventionist”, way too many syllables. No more than two syllable words for any ideas, one syllable if you can. Examples: Fair. Change. Forward.

        3. MG

          If we adopt an noninterventionist stance doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t expand to try and fill the roll we abandoned. They probably would.

          Just because you adopt a stay at home policy, doesn’t mean you can abandon keeping up with the current technology. You just need less of it.

          1. Really not trying to be a dick here. I am someone who believes in a strong national defense. I understand you points about keeping ahead in technology, too. It will be irrelevant if we don’t have a nation left to fund it.

            I am also someone who is most suspicious of any in government who swear that I need them to steal from me. Which is 100% of them.

          2. I’m not sure what ‘role’ we’re abandoning. Middle East, we install a brutal dictator in Iran and set up decades of hatred. We take out Iran’s goe-political foe Iraq to what end? Forgetting the middle east; we subsidize Europe’s socialist societies, to what end? I don’t mean to sound like Tom Hank’s in Big, But I Don’t Get It?

            Noninterventionist does not mean we have no diplomatic role in the world or that we huddle within our borders defenseless. Their are policy paths we can take that don’t include picking fights with every despicable regime in the world.

  18. Captures what a lot in the program already know.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/…..tates.html

  19. Nothing can be cut. Nothing… NOTHING!

  20. We’re down to the bone. The BONE, I tells ya!

  21. My understanding (perhaps wrong) is that Congress managed to parcel out some aspect of the F-35 program to every single congressional district. It’s not going anywhere. Literally or figuratively.

    1. Exactly. Nothing can be cut. NOTHING!

    2. Not far from the truth. It is a politically perfect weapon.

    3. Essentially…see my link above. 45 states. It’s the new normal in all major acquisition programs. “political engineering”

  22. And all of this pants wetting over “defending” ourselves from a group of people who, if you gathered their gross wealth in one lump sum, doesn’t match 1 month worth of our military budget.

    Fuck these slimy bureaucrat fucks.

  23. Defense spending is Olympic-level cronyism.

    Behold, the masterwork of obfuscation: http://www.wired.com/images_bl….._chart.jpg

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