Friday, June 19, 2009

This is how you pad your resume to become a defense industry lobbyist when you retire

From the Christian Science Monitor:

WASHINGTON - A top Air Force general, crossing swords with Pentagon leadership, says a proposed cap on the number of F-22 stealth fighters puts America at "high risk" of compromising military strategy.

In a June 9 letter to a senator, Gen. John Corley, commander of the Air Force's Air Combat Command, wrote: "In my opinion, a fleet of 187 F-22s puts execution of our current national military strategy at high risk in the near to mid term." General Corley's letter, obtained by the Monitor Thursday, came in response to a query from Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) of Georgia, where parts of the F-22 Raptor are built.

The 187 cap is the symbolic centerpiece of Defense Secretary Robert Gates's budget request, which aims to rein in defense procurement costs. He has said it is time to wrap up the program to buy the $140 million-a-copy plane.

The Air Force had long disagreed, calling for as many as 381 planes as recently as last year, in apparent defiance of Mr. Gates. The Defense Secretary fired the Air Force's two top leaders last year, largely over the issue.

The new Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Norton "Norty" Schwartz, is on board with Gates's position, publicly stating his support for ending the program in a newspaper oped in April. "The time has come to move on," General Schwartz and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley wrote.

But General Corley, in his letter, wrote that "there are no studies" yet to justify the figure of 187. Even 250 F-22s would put the nation at "moderate risk," Corley wrote, citing analysis by his command.

Of course, Genearl Corley also fails to mention that there are no studies justifying the 381 number, either. Nor does the Air Force the F-22 was expected to counter actually still exist.

But look for another 20 F-22s to be added back into the defense budget through various Congressional maneuvers, bringing our total defense spending up to at least a 6-8% increase over last year.


Anonymous said...

"Of course, Genearl Corley also fails to mention that there are no studies justifying the 381 number, either. "

fact or suposition on your part?

The Air Force Brass didn't throw darts at a dart board to come up with 381.

Steven H. Newton said...

Curiously, anon--and you must be new to reading my material--if there are any studies they have never been released to the public nor cited at budget hearings within the past 15 years. I went back that far looking.

If you really think that quantities of larger weapons systems ordered is completely dependent upon operational and tactical projections, and does not include a huge, expansive political component, then you really have not been paying attention.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking along the lines of quadrenial defense review.

The Pols and the Brass and the Eggheads sit down and think, what military challenges are we likely to face, what capabilities do we need to prevail?
In the old days it was something like fight the Russins in Europe, fight an insurgancy or two in south america and handle a peacekeeping/disaster relief in africa...

From that they divine the force structure needed.
X actve fighter ssquadrens
Y reserve fighter squadrens
Z training squadrens
and so on.

so no, no one started a study labeled "How many F-22's should the Air Force buy". What you will find is studies on number of squadrons of fighter/attack aircraft needed to support the mission, along with life cycle studies of current aircraft inventory and planned purchases.

The number 381 was the result of military, scientific and engineerinf analysis, combined with politics.

the 187 is pure politics. picked soley based on a dollar figure, with no mission planning or worse some very cynical, unilateral planning ("hey were not realy going to defend Tiawan, so we can cut our plane order in half")