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With The 12-Point Platform, this won't happen: Humongous boondoggle weapons systems

Daily Beast:

New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019
The Pentagon’s newest stealth jet, the nearly $400 billion Joint Strike Fighter, won’t be able to fire its gun during operational missions until 2019, three to four years after it becomes operational.

Of course, the Air Force is trying to get rid of the A10 Warthog, which can fire a gun, with the F35.

Even though the Joint Strike Fighter, or F-35, is supposed to join frontline U.S. Marine Corps fighter squadrons next year and Air Force units in 2016, the jet’s software does not yet have the ability to shoot its 25mm cannon. But even when the jet will be able to shoot its gun, the F-35 barely carries enough ammunition to make the weapon useful. ...

“There will be no gun until [the Joint Strike Fighter’s Block] 3F [software], there is no software to support it now or for the next four-ish years,” said one Air Force official affiliated with the F-35 program. “Block 3F is slated for release in 2019, but who knows how much that will slip?”

There's plenty more, but it's too depressing.

* * *

The 12-Point Platform has a plank that applies to so-called defense policy. It is:

10. End the Wars

Now, I haven't done the research to make this plank concrete, though it's plain enough this plank would preclude insane neo-con schemes like PNAC, or Obama's policy of setting the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean littoral on fire, along with the Black Sea's. (It seems to me that when we've got a shit ton of nukes, plus our own continent, plus the Atlantic and the Pacific between us and other great powers, and Canada and Mexico for neighbors, that we probably don't need to do as much "defense" as we find ourselves doing.)

I do think one litmus test is "self-licking ice cream cones" -- "solutions" that amplify, to a rentier's profit, the very "problem" they claim to solve -- and they are ubiquitous in "defense" policy. Drones and their ancillary blowback are one self-licking ice cream cone, and I would bet that the F35 is another, though in a modality I don't understand yet (but might have something to do with all that software). So one thing we'll do is look for self-licking ice cream cones and get rid of them.

The F35 is clearly making Lockheed a great deal of money, but it's just not clear that money is about "defense," even as that term is liberally construed in Washington today. Worse, the entire effort is distorting the real economy terribly; we're wasting a tremendous talent in engineering and software development on a boondoggle. Imagine if those resources were devoted to public purpose, instead of a boondoggle!

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