Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the military industrial complex. Five decades later it has metastasized into a crony system of corruption for the extraction of enormous sums from the taxpayer.
Perhaps there is no greater example of what’s wrong with Washington than the F-35 Joint Strike Force fighter. After 2o years, the program has still not produced an operational airplane.
“The F-35 is irredeemable. Contrary to the conventional wisdom on the Hill and at the Pentagon, there are practical solutions that can replace the failed Joint Strike Fighter project quickly while creating tens of thousands of jobs and filling America’s national-security needs .”
The failed F-35 fighter-jet program can’t be fixed — it’s time to turn the page.
From National Review: By MIKE FREDENBURG, January 6, 2017
Our incoming president’s willingness to boldly challenge the status quo is arguably the main reason he was elected. And no defense project is more representative of a disastrous status quo than the 20-year-old Joint Strike Fighter program — the F-35. The F-35 program showcases all that is wrong about our military’s vendor-dominated, crony-capitalist procurement system. Unless dealt with decisively, its massive cost and its lack of capability will have a dramatically negative impact on our military’s effectiveness for decades to come.
Therefore, President-elect Trump’s willingness to publicly call out this $1.5 trillion program is good news. However, getting involved in negotiating a better price on incomplete, crippled fighters will not save taxpayers any money in the long run — because the prices being negotiated between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon are prices designed to fool the public about the F-35’s true costs. Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon both know that any “discount” or price reduction negotiated in public will quickly be made up on the back-end, where a plethora of upgrades, airframe life-extension programs, and uber-expensive spare-parts purchases over the life of the program will easily generate over $200 million for each plane delivered. Consequently, if Trump expends presidential prestige to save a few percent off the top, it won’t solve the underlying problem. Instead, he will only validate a failed program that is a big part of the swamp he is eager to drain as part of his plan to restore our depleted military.
In place of counter-productive price negotiations, within hours of taking office President Donald Trump could use the extraordinary influence of @realDonaldTrump to tweet 127 power-packed characters: “20 years and the F-35 is still not working. Program a mess. Plane a mess. Time to stop buying F-35s! New, better planes needed!”
More than any other single action, this tweet would signal that a new sheriff is in town — a sheriff committed to taking on the entrenched special interests that have corrupted the Pentagon.