OSD Outmanuevers HASC on F-22

OSD Outmanuevers HASC on F-22

It’s not often anyone on the House Armed Services Committee invokes the constitution and the rule of law, but today’s hearing on the F-22 featured repeated mentions of the founding document by frustrated lawmakers who knew the Pentagon had outflanked them on the controversial program.

“You are acting in defiance of the law and the will of Congress,” Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) hurled at John Young, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

“The defense bill is the defense bill and you will obey what it says — period,” a moderately unhappy Rep. Neil Abercrombie, chairman of the House Armed Services airland subcommittee, told Young.

Abercrombie and members of both parties made it very clear to Young that they thought the Pentagon had flouted both the spirit and the intent of the law, which directed that $140 million be spent on advanced procurement. The money would make it possible to fund an additional 20 F-22s and, perhaps more importantly, to keep the production lines open.

The Pentagon countered with plans to buy four more F-22s in the next supplemental spending bill and Young announced that he has approved Air Force spending of as much as $50 million for advance procurement.

The Acquisition Decision Memorandum (ADM) approved by Young allows for the procurement of parts support for four aircraft beyond the 183 total F-22’s that DoD has already contracted for.

Young pointed out in a Nov. 11 statement that the draft Pentagon budget for 2010 does not include money for F-22s. The ADM provides “a bridge to a January decision by the next administration” on whether and how many more F-22s to buy, up to the congressionally mandated ceiling of $140 million for up to 20 F-22, Young said at the time.

During today’s hearing, Young told Abercrombie and his colleagues that the Pentagon acted because it did not want to tie the hands of the Obama administration. But the effect of the decision, according to congressional aides, is to make any expansion of the F-22 buy highly unlikely.

The stakes for some House members are high. Gingrey told reporters after the hearing that a total of 25,000 jobs depend directly on the F-22 program, with another 70,000 thousand jobs affected by the program’s end. To show how eager F-22 maker Lockheed Martin is to keep the program going, a congressional aide said the company started funding six of its vendors out of its own money in July to make sure they kept making 142 key parts.

But Congress appears to have been outfoxed. “They really have us where they want us,” a congressional aide said after the hearing. “[Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon] England and [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates do not want to fund the F-22 and they’ve got us.” By the time Congress could take any action to force the Pentagon to comply with the law — several months — the decision will already be in the hands of the new administration.

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What a bunch of BS.

The USAF has a stated (& JUSTIFIED) requirement for AT LEAST 381 F-22 (PLUS, EVEN IF IT GETS ALL 381 that it will need to by some miracle keep 178 F-15C “Golden Eagle” in service BEYOND 2025). Congress passed a FY2009 defense bill that includes $140 million for advanced procurement of 20 F-22 for FY2010 (BEYOND the 187 [183 via defense bills + 4 via a 2009 supplemental bill] funded through FY2009).

BUT Gates/England/Young want people to think that going ahead with advanced procurement for JUST the 4 F-22 funded via supplemental bill somehow complies with that?

Don’t give me that BS that “2010 does not include money for F-22s”. THAT IS WHAT THE $140 MILLION ADVANCED PROCUREMENT FUNDS IN THE FY2009 DEFENSE BILL ARE FOR!!! Congress has “given” the DOD $140 million in advanced procurement funds for 20 F-22 for FY2010.

“stated (& JUSTIFIED”

Stated? Sure. Justified? Not so much.

It’s a gold-plated weapons program in a world where we could be spending the money on lots of other, more critical things.

Taliban got lots of air superiority fighters, do they?


The F-22 isn’t for fightting the Taliban.

Unfortunately you do not have the luxury to fight conflicts with what you WANT but what you HAVE…

No, the Taliban has no air force, but Russia, China, India, Iran, etc. have advanced ones. Do you want to hope that we never have a conflict against any of them?

The F-22 isn’t for fighting anyone. It’s a deterrent that has already been achieved, especially in light of F-35s still to come in both our own and allied air forces.

If you are a small nation facing the F-22/F-35, you know you will never take-off because you are either afraid…or your airfield has already been stealth bombed.

If you are Russia, you can’t even survive flying against Georgia…and most of your expensive fighters are for export because you can’t afford to maintain your own or their pilots.

If you are China, you have more aircraft, but most are junk, your pilots don’t get enough training, and tehy won’t survive the Taiwan F-16s and Patriots let alone the U.S. F-22/F-35 and Aegis Standard Missiles. Oh, and their airfield gets bombed into oblivion as well. How do lots of aircraft take off without airfields? Then the Navy blockades you and you run out of fuel to finance your military let alone 1.3 billion people, who are now also out of work because they aren’t selling stuff to Walmart.

Meanwhile, the Army/Marines are fighting two long wars and endure repeated year-long deployments. Their systems are getting old and tired. Do we repay them for their service by cutting all their modernization and additional troops to boot? That is the end state you face if you continue to attempt to finance too much airpower.

“No, the Taliban has no air force, but Russia, China, India, Iran, etc. have advanced ones”

Russia? Hah. China? Maybe. India? Maybe. Iran? Double Hah.

The point is not that there aren’t scenarios where the F-22 is useful. But guess what? We’re not involved in scenarios right now, we’re involved in actual *wars*. So you tell me…on what should we be spending hundreds of billions of dollars–equipment that would be useful in actual *wars* or equipment that would be useful in some potential scenarios?

(and equipment that cements capabilities we already have)

By the way, y’all’s credibility just went out the window with the follow on story about the F-22 mission rate and upgrade cost.

“The point is not that there aren’t scenarios where the F-22 is useful. But guess what? We’re not involved in scenarios right now”

Correct, right now stealth fighters aren’t “needed”, so in your logic, we shouldn’t make any until someone else has used them against us therefore defeating the purpose of having a military to defend us. thanks.

Good reporting Colin. Gates and England have it right and I think the latter knows the F-22 since he was in charge of making them awhile back.

Cole: good to hear your thoughts on this. You continue to be an articulate voice of sanity plus experience on the scene.

We need to re-look our investment in stealth. It seemed like a good strategy and a leap-ahead in technology instead of continuing to buy electronic warfare aircraft to electronically blind all those threats to non-stealth aircraft.

We have reached a point of diminishing returns with stealth as we know it. Advancements in electronics, primarily radars, that partially mitigate stealth are cheaper and and can be done faster than we can upgrade stealth to elude the advanced radars. Stealth maintenance is proving to be a limitation to the technology in itself.

Stealth aircraft have special everything, hangars, support equipment, training, the whole nine yards. What happens when you chip the paint or ding a bombay door? I do not know but, you can bet it isn’t as simple as sending some guys from the shop to the flight-line to fix it. Fixing a stealth airplane becomes a logistic operation unto itself.

We needed stealth when we developed it. It helped win the cold war and it was not a mistake. When we began F-22 we needed it. We have just pushed the technology to the limits and need to look elsewhere, such as using the stealth techniques and technology that is practical and affordable and return to upgrading our electronic warfare assets.

There are lots of smart things we can do in electronic warfare that were not possible when we decided to build F-22, like bombs and missiles that can defend themselves using electronic measures or be jammers themselves, all due to miniaturization.

Waiting for the F-35, which is less capable in stealth but far more practical, and bringing electronic warfare to state of the art makes sense. The F22 or similar platform cannot be built for naval service so the Air Force is always going to be tied to less stealthy partners to include our allies.

Sometime, taking a step back and letting technology take us where we can go vice trying to go where no one has gone before is a good strategy. Its time to resurrect our electronic warfare capabilities that we let atrophy due to our over reliance on stealth and use that in conjunction with more practical aircraft.

For those of you who don’t waste your time the same way as I do, here is a link to the first (known) cloaking device. http://​www​.dukenews​.duke​.edu/​2​0​0​6​/​1​0​/​c​l​o​a​k​d​e​m​o​.​h​tml It appears science and technology are taking us in a different direction with stealth. If cloaking pans-out, who knows where that will lead us.

OBTW, F-22 is a REALLY COOL AWSOME AIRPLANE and no one but us could have built it or keep it flying. Its not a win lose with F-22 vs F35, they are simply the bottom line price of freedom and security.

It’s the “keep it flying” part that should bother you mc4menu. This fighter was intended to have higher reliability and be easier to maintain than any previous fighter. I don’t have the current numbers but reports of them aren’t encouraging to this retired maintenance officer.


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