The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do a bit of everything, as James Fallows explains in “The Tragedy of the American Military”. Instead, the aircraft can barely do anything: it has trouble flying at night, its engines have exploded during takeoff, and early models suffered structural cracks. There’s no end in sight, either. The all-in costs of this airplane are estimated to be as much as $1.5 trillion. (That’s approximately the same price as the entire Iraq War.) In an Atlantic magazine video, Fallows explains how such a disastrous project came to be—and why it can’t be stopped.
Others have noted that skyrocketing military procurement costs would lead to the entire US military budget being able to afford one plane in 2054.
It is not about national security. The military industrial complex makes choices for their own profit and not for the defense of the United States. 1200 suppliers and 9 international partners are profiting from the F35. The merging of requirements of the airforce, navy and marines means an expensive, compromised hodge podge that is inferior for each of the three tasks.
It is not a gold plated military program… it is pure solid gold.
The House and Senate have passed resolutions for approval of the military engagements in Iraq (2003) and Afghanistan (2001). President Obama has not gotten any congressional approvals for any of his military actions.
The USA has not declared a five star general since 1944. There have been no officers appointed to the rank of General of the Army since Omar Bradley. The rank of General of the Army is still maintained as a rank of the U.S. military, and could again be bestowed, most likely during a time of major war, pending approval of the United States Congress. United States military policy since the creation of a fifth star in World War II has been to award it only when a commander of U.S. forces must be equal to or of higher rank than commanders of armies from another nation under his control. However, Congress and the President may award a fifth star at any time they see fit.
Congress and the US military do not view anything since WW2 as a major war. The actions since have been viewed as not truly serious military engagements.
This is why
* no draft
* no full mobilization of the economy for military support
* still the primary focus of high level generals and officers is the politics of military promotion
* why the procurement system can be wasteful and corrupt. It does not really matter. There is no real threat to the USA.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.