Gates Fires JSF Program Manager

Gates Fires JSF Program Manager

UPDATED: Vice Adm. David Venlet, NAVAIR commander, Likely New JSF Program Manager; LM Issues Statement

The bombshell of budget day: Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that the prpgram manager of the Joint Strike Fighter program was being canned and would be replaced by a three– star general.

“One cannot absorb the additional costs in this program and the delays without people being held accountable,” Gates said during the question and answer period of his budget briefing today. The latest word on the replacement of Marine Maj. Gen. David Heinz is that Vice Adm. David Venlet, NAVAIR commander, will lead the program. (This may be the first time a three star general has run a Defense Department program, indicating just how important the JSF is to Gates and to the Obama administration.)

Initial congressional reaction was biting. Although a congressional aide said he was not “surprised” by Gates’ decision, the aide also made clear that he thought Heinz was a fall guy. “He is not the first to provide his best professional judgment and be fired for it becaise it is contrary to White House and Second Gates’ politics,” the aide said in an email. The aide wrote back speculating that Gen. Heinz may well have ticked off Gates with his quiet but persistent support for a second engine for the F-135. Heinz told me and others several times that a second engine could well result in lower costs and provide operational benefits by lessening the program’s dependence on a single engine. “Gates does not like this kind of thinking, no matter how much sense it makes. Heinz wasn’t in lock step with the politics — he is interested in future fighter force readiness and affordability,” the aide said.


Gates, of course, has opposed the second engine, although he has, so far, been unwilling to go to the mat over the F136.

Gates, who visited Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth plant where the F-35 is built and made clear his vigorous support for the program, admitted “there were more problems than we were aware of when I visited Fort Worth.” But he said Ash Carter, head of Pentagon acquisition, had done a good job of pushing the program’s restructure since then. Among the fundamental changes to the program is that the Joint Estimating Team’s cost estimate is now the official estimate, rather than the official program management office’s estimate.

In addition, Gates said he is keeping $614 million in contractor fees. Lockheed Martin, we are sure, agreed to this without hesitation. Late in the day (about 8 p.m.) Lockheed sent out this statement: “We have been working with the Secretary and Dr. Carter on a plan to get the program back on track and are committed to stabilizing F-35 cost, affordability and to fielding the aircraft on time. Secretary Gates today made it very clear that all procurement programs will have accountability and we support that position,” said spokesman Chris Geisel. “We understand what’s expected -– there is a clear set of performance and milestone criteria –- and we are confident we will achieve them.”

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When your dealing with joint programs it is a no win situation. As anyone who ever dealt in NATO operations you always have someone else trying to establish themselves as in charge while other are making behind the door changes and deals without notifying anyone else. The contractors take advantage of this through contract loopholes identifying it as a customer request or change (can even be verbal or by a missunderstood e mail) the contractors gladly make changes that line thier pockets without recieving proper contracts mods and agreements. When this happens on the US side they simply fire or transfer the individual for making a binding contract change rather than making sure contract language is changed to prevent this from occuring. This general wont last long either.

Interesting that Maj. Gen. David Heinz was “held accountable” since he took over in April 2009. I’m sure that many if not all of the issues currently being uncovered predate his appointment at F-35 PEO.

A three-star PM? Seriously?

Having worked for Gen Heinz for a couple years, I can unequivocally say he was the best leader I’d seen in my 27 years of military service (and I’m AF). A truly sad day for all.

That spare engine is a payback to GE for favors,Pratt & Whitney has the engine under contract.

Just another reason why Gates should be replaced. Obama made a big mistake keeping Gates around. Gates is doing more harm than good for the defense of this country. In fact, Gates is the one who should be held accountable not Heinz.

So, when is Lockheed Martin firing their JSF program manager?

Colin,
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has a three-star. It’s another one of those “specialty” programs that is outside the single agency management box.

MDA has a three star but he oversees an agency with multiple programs. I guess you can argue that JSF is three programs, but it’s only kinda sorta. On the other hand. JSF is the biggest program in the department — maybe ever — so it’s certainly worthy of great respect and authority, which a three-star will bring.

Good Morning Folks,

What took ‘em so long. This is the same Marine General David Heinz that said the F-22 was necessary because it could defeat IED/EFP’s and was having a cushy relationship with a female lobbyist for Lockheed? The first question is how did this guy get to be program manager of the F-35, how many red flags have to come up before someone takes action.

If this is the best leader in the Marine Corp, and I don’t believe that for an instant we are in trouble.

Bust MG Heinz back to a Brigadier General, he doesn’t have two years in grade, and retire him. Like General Peter Pace BG David Heinz is not the best the Marines have to offer. I’m sure either Rebecca or LM will have a cushy job for him.

ALLONS,
Byron Skinner

You can get a sense of Secretary of State’s unease with the program. He’s sending a message, with this decision.

I meant Secretary of Defense.

The second shoe will drop soon, plus other footwear.
Not an arbitrary move by the SecDef. He did his homework (GAO, program reviews, etc.).
Extreme high-level scrutiny on issues caused by LM mismanagement.
Could LM be next?

“Formula” should be reminded that JSF mismanagement started with the low-ball program cost estimate waaay back when LM won the competition with Boeing.

It doesn’t help that their ORD (rqmts doc) sucks and LM won’t update it because then they will have to follow current acquisition guidance ($$).

Goodness Byron, I see that your grammar is still the same. We all know you are adept at criticism, but whom do you think should be running the program? What evidence do you have of MG Heinz being so incompentent? Do you think he ran this program into the ground during his short stint as the head guy? As for Gen Pace, do you know him? Have you served with him? What is the foundation for your critique of him?

USNA_USMC_93, I am sure you know to expect this from Byron by now.

A good officer doesn’t necessarily make a good program manager. That may have been the case with General David Heinz here, yet it seems the PM before him left plenty of problems for him to take care of.

I don’t know why Byron took a shot at retired General Peter Pace, but from what I have heard he was popular with many marines, and his display of respect for those who served with him in Vietnam certainly shows some moral character.

In my opinion Gates has staked much of his reputation of the F-35 program. I certainly hope the F-35 is a success (we need it). Yet I believe his “one aircraft to do it all” theory is flawed, as is the “one ship hull to do it all” theory he wants the Navy to adopt.

Tough luck for MG Heinz as I suspect that he is a competent offiicer. Instead of wasting time castigating people that we don’t know; we should consider the important questions about the F35 program.…such as:: how close is the F35 program to a Nunn-McCurdy breach and what does it all mean to our military capability?

The General takes over in April, and they fire him with less than a year on the job? Whatever was wrong with this program started long before he took the job. Maybe this is a case of the SecDef and Administration not being able to handle the truth — so they sacked the messenger.

Doesn’t anyone in the Puzzle Palace remember the TFX/F-111 fiasco? “Joint“requirements for a fighter merely dilute the principal operational capabilities needed in the various Service’s aircraft. Shades of Robert Strange.

phil, concur with your comments. It is not news that the administration cannot handle the truth, Gates is following orders (Obaminable ones). this is about stinking politics, not aircraft.

Just goes to show you, having a 3-star in charge like the MDA still means you can’t hit the broad side of a barn. More misses than hits with our DEPLOYED but unsuccessfully tested anti-missile system.

Colin,

As a career DoD civilian working in the Pentagon, I always enjoy reading your blog and learning the latest defense-related information (most of the time quicker than through official channels). However, I find it somewhat disappointing that you lace many of your posts with comments from some unidentified congressional “aide.” If you’re going to include the commentary of a political hack with a political agenda, you should at least balance it with a voice from the other side. Better yet, don’t include the views of the hacks at all, since they almost always have ulterior motives and rarely bother to acquire accurate or reliable information.

Take it from someone who actually works in the building and not from a politically compromised partisan on the Hill. Gates fired the general because he wasn’t giving the SECDEF the complete picture on the program’s status.…not because of any political motivations. It wasn’t until CAPE released its dire assessment that Gates realized the program was in much worse shape than what was being reported to him by the PM. Given that disparity, it’s only reasonable that Gates hold the PM responsible. It’s unfortunate that this had to happen, but with such an important and high visibility program, the PM must be held to an incredibly high standard. Our future defense capabilities depend on it.

And for those of you who blame it on Gates’ or Obama’s politics, get real. Do you really think Gates is out to destroy generals just because they may have differences of opinion? Do you have any evidence at all to support this assertion? From my vantage point in the building, Gates is seen by many as one of the least political people to hold the job of SECDEF and much of the DoD workforce appears proud to have a leader who raises sober and objective analysis over the parochial and selfish interests of defense contractors and politicians on the Hill.

And finally, Colin, I would be interested to learn what member of Congress your unidentified aide works for. His obsession with the second JSF engine (which is opposed by most of the defense analysts and policymakers in OSD for very sound reasons, not politics) makes me wonder who’s contributing to his member’s campaign. I believe full disclosure is necessary before quoting anyone who even pretends to have knowledge on an issue involving national security.

–LH

Yes, it was a game of musical chairs, but he had his chance to blow the whistle. Instead he drank the kool-aid.

Boomer…we knew each other on another blog. I am on the contractor side and have witnessed the opposite. It is well known not to start on any change without official approval, and that officiality comes with a charge number. There are Change Review Boards that give the thumbs up/down and they usually say no. OK, maybe we do spend a few hours here and there investigating a request for the customer. However, once it gets into real money, everyone will ask for a charge number…no tickee, no shirtee. Mischarging is one of the few crimes that can get you fired. No charge number is issued without the proper paperwork, including contract mods if necessary. If you are witnessing gross mischarging like you describe, advise them to cool it. The charge number police are coming for them.

Partially, but others are looking to GE for a little more thrust to bail out the STOVL when the vertical bringback weight becomes less than bingo fuel weight. They have already gone to the “well of thrust” several times at Putz & Weeney and there is no more to economically squeeze out. Maybe they can start over with GE.

Gates needs to go before anymore of U.S. air power capability is destroyed.

” …about $77 million per copy.”
–Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Feb. 2008, commenting on the F-35

I am not doubting that he is a good leader, but he was out smarted by the JSF cult, and he is getting the punishment. Washington DC is well known for blame games. He should have covered his own ass. There was no shortage of intelligent people warning him of approaching disaster.You might say he reached his level of incompetence. I know, I know, Gates is also vulnerable and he hopes this covers his ass. It won’t.

Indeed!

COMING SOON…WATCH THIS SPACE

The Pentagon and the AF saw to that long before Gates arrived on the scene.

It has already breached. Everyone is heading for the hills now. It’s every man for himself.

Gates sacked somebody who will get noticed in the vain hope the unemployment won’t proceed upwards.

The JSF program stinks on ice, especially the air vehicle. Like the man said “It can climb, can’t turn and can’t run”…by design specification. An F-4 can give it trouble in an air to air sense. An Su-35 will play with it. Do you think all those gee-whiz electronics will ever work as it says in the brochure? They had better, because otherwise you might as well buy
f-4s to send against the Sukhois. What are the chances the avionics will be 5 years late and $10 billion over budget? Be honest based on past performance and claims.

Good post, LH but I do not think it is realistic to absolve Gates from knowing it all before Heinz was even hired. Gates is more culpable. It will come out during the Nunn-McCurdy hearings.

One man sacked equals a scapegoat.…accountability runs deeper than that. Who on Gates’ staff will follow Duncan Heinz who came into a program with bubble gum and bailing wire!!

Interesting comments. It strikes me that these some of these same words could apply to POTUS. In any case, I’ve seen folks, good folks, get sacked or re-assigned because expected results were not achieved. It certainly wasn’t as public but the rewards were never as potentially great as they are at Heinzs’ level. He’ll be okay.

Duncan Heinz was and still is a first rate guy. This is all about politics– someone’s head had to roll and it was Heinz’. Knowing this guy personally– its a sad day when you have to have a fall guy of this caliber.

It is actually very close to NM breach, but I suspect numbers to be fudged a little so it doesn’t breach. Political reasons. See… it depends on which numbers are used to calculate. My opinion is that it should be NM’d with a new APB (Acquisition Program Baseline). This way the PM and LM would be forced to make the tough choices (like not spending acquisition dollars before development and test are good — chronic with JSF) and not just slide by on PowerPoint promises.

I am starting to believe that Mr.Gates has a deep hatred for anyone who wears an Airforce uniform. He can’t wait until he implements an all UAV Airforce , which are run by ground pounders. Then he will not need an Airforce at all, he can just fedex all the troops and equipment. Mr.Gates needs to be the one who gets fired , a few more years of him and the direction he is taking our Military and we will be in very very bad shape!!!
–This mesage was brought to by a member of the APS (Airforce preservation society)

Good Evening Folks,

The first two paragraphs in an article of June 17 2009 by Colin on the buzz says all that needs to be said about General Heinz. If I recalled after that story General Heinz was asked to return early from the Paris Air Show by General Conway. What General Conway said is not public but if I recall, he didn’t call General Heinz back to award him a DSM, Sec. Gates moved General Heinz upstairs.

Reading Colin’s article should have been a clear warning as to where General Heinz interests were. It should come as no surprise the he was not up to the job as project manager of the F-35. The promotion of General Heinz to this position was clearly a bad call on the part of Sec. Gates.

General Pace served only a single term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, that’s all that needs to be said.

It would be nice that people who want to attack me would at least have the guts to use their names. But again they usually have noting to contribute to the discussion so it really doesn’t matter.

ALLONS,
Byron Skinner

Byron Skinner you should not speak of guts as you question the loyalty of men like Generals Pace and Heinz and demand the latter be stripped of rank and forced to retire. As per your obsession over people not using their full names, it is so easy to lie on the internet why should one bother? Some of us happened to be concern about identity theft or people slandering our reputations as well. If not sharing my last name angers you perhaps you should straighten out your priorities.

I believe General Pace is the first USMC officer to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and others before him have served only one term before. His ability as a commander or integrity is not lessened by any inability to play politics with the senators.

Gates is among the least political? Much of what he has done seems to be evidence to the contrary. Inter-service politics have certainly left him with a bias against the Air Force for example.His maddening campaign against the F-22 saw plenty of coercion out in the open, not to mention behind closed doors. Doesn’t it seem odd that the two scapegoats for that nuclear cruise missile mishandling were both supporters of the F-22? Gates seems to have a “my way or the highway” approach that is all too similar to Rumsfeld’s. It seems Gates has his sights on the Navy next. God forbid they believe they will need two different types of hull for their next destroyer and cruiser for example. Obama can’t be blamed for everything down on this level. Yet he is certainly no friend of the military and will gladly try and cut anything he can. The Democrats have been trying to do this for decades after all.

Indeed. It is feasible to design an aircraft that can replace both the F-16 and the standard F/A-18 Hornet. Designing a VTOL variant to replace the AV-8 is risky, but seems possible as well. Yet expecting the F-35 to replace the A-10, some F-15s, and several other aircraft is just plain foolishness.

JSF like the CV-22 … is just a bad idea. Has anyone noticed that the Army can’t buy combat vehicles, the AF can’t buy airplanes, and the navy can’t buy ships. Hmmmm, I wonder if it’s caused by incompetent civilian leadership at the Pentagon or congressional BAFOONS to include both parties but certainly does NOT EXCLUDE John McCain. Meanwhile, we have an F-22 line we’re closing, an F-15/F-16 line providing incredible aircraft to our allies, and an F/A-18 line that is scraping by to deliver the last of the Super Hornets. Get rid of Gates… please, in God’s name, just go!

This firing is a Gates message to program managers (hey! I agree with Gates for once).… if you are a program manager and go-native and drink the bath water and PowerPoint slides from the prime vendor which state everything is happy ponies, than you need to get canned and quick. This kind of program management leader behavior is dangerous. The program manager is supposed to represent the DOD and keep them from doing stupid things. General Heinz (and other PMs) had an opportunity early on to tell Gates the unvarnished truth of this program. Heinz chose poorly.

Colin — is it true that the primary JSF engine is 2 years behind schedule, and $2B over cost, and it is a derivative engine? What’s up with that? How can any defense analyst and policymaker worth a salt have any confidence that this engine is going to deliver the goods, and be affordable too? Check out the comments of the former JSF Program Director, LtGen Hough and Jacques Gansler regarding the need for an alternative engine. The hard truth is the removal of the JSF program manager should also cause “career DoD civilians” like yourself, to reflect on your overall contributions to the greater good of the DoD and our servicemembers in the field. What could have you and the rest of the “career DoD civilians” done to help get this important program right? It is easy to stand in the shadows and snipe about the senior leadership, what have you done to make a difference?

How can it be two yrs behind schedule when it’s already delivered most if its flight test engines? And those engines are flying today. Don’t you mean the alternate engine? You know, the F136, the one that hasn’t delivered an engine yet.

ShoeShine.….… I agree, there is no doubt LM did low ball their bid to win the JSF. In fact, P&W did the same thing; both are from the same business school of thought. I’ve been in the defense business for almost 30 years and it disturbs me to no end how some of these contractors are milking the tax payer out of billions. In case people don’t know, P&W is using CIP dollars to redesign the F135 core compressor because it lacks the durability/reliability and power for the STOVL. Gates and others should look into this, no one talks about it because its a different color of money used for the CIP program; Congress, Sec of Def, and the Senate should look at this misappropriation of tax payers funds.

I always wondered how the CIP program can fund a redesign for an engine NOT even in production yet. I think the GAO, 60 Min, Citizens Against Government Waste and any other watch dog group out there should look into the P&W redesign effort going on for the F135 engine that is suppose to power the F35. Also, add the billions P&W is over budget to the 100’s of millions it will cost for the core engine redesign and you have a TOTAL abuse of the tax payers dollars. People don’t even know how much the “real” F135 is going to cost the USA.

LH, where do you work? I think the info you a re exposed to lacks any credibility or facts. Get real, Gates knew the condition of the F35 Program before Heinz was even hired back in April 2009. The F35 financial woes go back to 2008 and even earlier by reports from the GAO and other Gov Financial organizations. warnings were given several years ago and were “ignored” by Gates and his administration. Stop ignoring the facts that are blinding you.….…Heinz was the fall guy for Gates ignorance. Gates should voluntarily step down before he does anymore damage.

I’ve been watching Aircraft programs and aircraft come along with all sorts of fanfare since 1964. Most if not all have run into problems during developement and testing and cost over runs have been monumental. If companies competing for these contacts would use real cost estimates and factor in inflation and engineering snafus that always crop up maybe we would have realistic bids. Killing the messenger never bodes well

As a retired DCMA Program Integrator, I can tell you that there are more than just a couple 3 star PEOs out there.

Cost overruns can usually be traced back to poor government oversight. The DoD has trouble laying out requirements for the Contractor, same old story

Apart from what we have today in the US inventory (F-16 block 60 or F-18 E/F which are real good fighters) it could now become urgent to have a look at the JSF alternatives since this program is close to be dead. Eurofighter is far from being credible enough; the Gripen lacks the necessary smart techno. What else? The French Rafale, which demonstrates day after day an unexpected capacity to carry out the largest range of missions a pilot could dream of. Unexpected the Frenchies? As usual, alone in their splendid remotness, but with state of the art technology. Ten years from now, the Rafale could be the only x generation fighter able to compete with Asian/Russian/Chinese models!

The irony is that our principal military Allies – the Brits – could soon discover that they would probably have nice and big carriers but with nothing to put on it…

Who will dare to admit this very stressing situation? Admitting our faults and the rightness of European (French) military and industrial choices? As far as the 5th generation fighter (or 4 1/2 !) is concerned, we have much to learn.

Cost overruns are a fact-of-life. No amount of cost estimating will ever come up with the right number. Like many other programs, cost overruns are a combination of designers and engineers not be realistic about the technical and engineering difficulties, and Pentagon managers not wanting to budget to the realistic cost because it would become very clear that all these new programs are unaffordable. Then someone would have to make real decisions.

So, Nunn-McCurdy breaches are the normal, not the exception. And we wonder why we get only 182 F-22s.

Plus, passing laws, like the recent weapons acquisition improvement act, will not result in better management or better outcomes. Only proactive managers can do that, and we don’t empower our managers.

Where is Dick Cheney when you need him?.….…remember the A-12?

Gates ignored the 2008 JET Report which predicted all the issues that have come to pass with the JSF. Why? So that he would have a political high ground to kill the F-22 and play the F-35 card as an alternative. The only person who needs firing is the Sec. Dev. He has known about these problems for several years, and this passing the buck to the uniform in charge is not fooling anyone.

WARIII,
Your comment has no relevance to this article, since Maj Gen Heinz is a Marine, or the comments being made in this forum. Also, If the Air Force really has that big of a concern for its future, that it needs to have an APS then maybe the Air Force isn’t that relevant either. By the way, I don’t believe that to be the case, so quit giving the A.F. a black eye with your ridiculous comments.

They should be holding Lockheed accountable not the General. If you look back you will see that Lockheed has a history of winning a contract then within a year they will tell DOD or NASA that they are behind schedule and over Budget. Take a look at the last 2 programs Lockheed from the Army they won Aerial Common Sensor, with a year they told the Army they were behind schedule and over cost, Army then cancel the program. With the next generation rockets, no sooner than they signed the conract with NASA they were years behind and over Budget. This is a common story with Lockheed

‘The Office’ is pretty provocative isn’t it ? May be not so unrealistic. Look at what Peter Collins from Flight International wrote after evaluating this damned ‘Rampant Rafale’ last November:

‘The classic definitions of aircraft combat roles really do not do justice to this aircraft; the Rafale is Europe’s force-multiplying “war-fighter” par excellence. It is simply the best and most complete combat aircraft that I have ever flown. Its operational deployments speak for themselves. If I had to go into combat, on any mission, against anyone, I would, without question, choose the Rafale.’

Goodness…

Sec Gates has been on the job longer than Maj. Gen. David Heinz so shouldn’t he bear much of the blame?

Gates served in the Air Force, maybe they did something to him that he didn’t like. Any service that can’t control their nukes has a problem but many people believe he has a definite bias.

As to the claim of politics, this would be more meaningful if the source of the accusation were identified. As far as I can tell Gates has no core idealogy, he just does what his masters tell him to do.

I thought the concept of Acquisition Reform was that the contractors were all knowing patroitic people and government oversight was mearly an obstruction to their efficient operation.

As for the engines, well if you want a horse to run it helps to put two horses in the race.

I think Lockheed should be accountable and GATES should be fired. What a bunch of crap this is

Right on! Independent from GEN Heinz, for whom I have the outmost respect, the fact that an operational officer is a great leader does not qualify him/her for a major acqusition program. Right now the USN is facing the problem that we do not groom a junior officer in the acqusition fields (not even SC). The acquisition process is a very cumbersome and complicated one. We need to develop a program like the AF where acqusition professionals are groomed from an early stage.

War111
The last Time I checked a Marine does not wear a airforce uniform !!!! You might try to at least get the service correct. Where do you come from outer space? Even enlisted people know the differance. Maybe you should look again at where Mr. Gates is coming from . At least someone needs to make to procurement process count for the money expended.

This wasn’t the PM’s fault it was the excuse of a contract awarded to Lockheed, the contract specificied a flyoff as a condition of acceptance. Lockheed didn’t even have a flyable aircraft when Bush gave the contract to Lockheed to save Fort Worth. Single engine aircraft is great for the USAF with their 10K’ runways a single engine aircraft off a carrier is a whole different story. How many of these jewels are going to FOD an engine off the cat and end up as undersea decorations before someone gets a clue???

How do you possibly change the course of a juggernaut like the JSP program in only 9 months? Looks like the General got hosed.….…

RHIP

cheaper to just apply f-22 updates to the f-15 and piss on the one plane can do it all theory. what next f-35 cargo planes? really. the program is in such a mess due to the pie in the sky expectations of the theory. seriously, how many variants are there? what happens if the plane design has a fatal flaw that grounds the entire fleet of f-35’s? this is very scary when it comes to banking all the military aviation one one piece of crap plane that is a dud before it ever gets built, if it ever does.

His job at that point would have been two fold. To correct all the deficiencies that occurred before him and to then keep the program on track. If during this time, which seems very critical as it might be go-no go time, he failed to do the first job then they would be even further behind. So this is impressive as it’s been 9 or 10 years since someone actually has been told that no more bucks will be stopping at your desk.

I am a Democrat who wrote a letter to the White House after the inauguration suggesting Gates be kept on as SecDef. Not really thinking this would actually occur. Gates has not disappointed me in the least.

Yeah really! Talk about a waste of assets. That’ll be the highest paid PM. I think Sec Gates has started drinking that koolaide over at the Oval Office.

To ALL.
I happen to test both the GE F110 and P&W F100 engines. I can tell all of you that it is a DAMN good thing that we have BOTH engines. I have delt wil both GE and P&W, both are terrible to deal with, but having the two competing against each other, keeps them semi honest. I guarantee you that if we only have one engine for the F-35, we will regret it badly. It doesn’t matter whether it is a GE or P&W motor. Heinz was right to insist on the second engine.
That said, I don’t believe for a minute that the F-35 can replace the F-16, F-18, A-10, and the Harrier. The Harrier sure ok, the A-10 no way in hell! I agree with to post that compared the F-35 to the F-4, I believe we are making the same mistake we made back then. The F-15SE is a much better deal than the F-35 although that is not saying much. I will also guarantee you that the SU-30 and SU-35 will fly circles around the F-35 and blow it out of the sky. But it looks like BO and Gates are hell bent on restricting all of our military’s capabilities. Pretty soon our military will consist of nothing but women and queers.

SecDef is right on target. This program smells of the A12 debacle of 20 years ago. And, doubtless, this program’s manufacturing base is spread to every single state in the Union, every territory, and probably every nation allied or “semi-allied” to the United States.

“Just throw more money at it, that’ll get ‘er turned around…”…right.

Agreed. He is a weak Defense Secretary. The DADT issue alone is enough to get rid of him.

I think Gates sent a message with his decision, get with the program or get out, sometimes thats what it takes when you are dealing with Generals, some of em tend to get a little cocky from time to time. Thie General knew how the SECDEF felt about a second engine, yet he supported it anyway without the SECDEF go-ahead, thats grounds to relieve the General, it’s called disobeying a direct order, and just in case some of you forgot, this is a military operation, DoD is paying for it and the military is in charge of it, and the SECDEF is in his(the Gen)chain of Command. I disagree with some that said this General was a good leader, if he was a good leader he would have known to NOT disobey an order from a superior.

As far as this second engine is concerned, get the first one(engine)off the groung, then talk about the second one.

First of all the replacement is a 3 star admiral not general. I know its splitting a hair but accurate reporting is essential. As far as only having been in the PM position for under a year doesn’t give one enough time to cure all the ills but there should have been some positve progress made. When serving at the “whim” or discretion of another is not a safe place to be carrer wise unless all goes well. People at that level always have detractors no matter how good your performance is. I am a former Air Force (old school) NCO — Viet Nam vet.

Gates is the problem? Yes, and, no. He is suffering from the same mind-numbing disease that George Bush and many in his administration suffered. It’s called being a Moderate! It works like this: take one part Moderate, then add one part Republican, and you are left with another worthless DEMOCRAT! Yes, Gates is a problem. But, the real problem with this program and all military programs rests in the fascist, bigoted, traitor known as Barry Obambi! OOPS! Not just him…her…it, no, the list includes Nanna Pukoski and her traitorous partner in the senate, Hasty Retreat! My friends, the real question is, when will our brothers and sisters in uniform standup and fulfill their oaths? The same oath that I and so many of you took! The oath that requires us to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC”. When.….When.….When?

By the way, I spent twenty years on active duty and loved every minute of it! Well, almost every minute. I thank and praise God every day for directing me to our nation’s armed forces! If only our leaders had spent any real time in uniform.

Maybe it’s time to re-visit acquisition methodology in place before the implementation of performance-based specifications that leave the actual procurement requirements up to the contractor rather than tried-and-tested military specifications. It seems that when expectations for program results were based upon military-developed standards rather than those developed by prospective contractors — whose proposals varied as widely as their names — the government received a better-built asset with fewer schedule delays and more reasonable cost variances. Dig up and resuscitate the MIL-SPECS and level the playing field…again.

What happened to the “Power b the Hour” pitch ? I thought the whole focus was LM took a really different
strategic approach get the business and thought that was needed to lock in the order.
That means what they deliver has to be perfect, quick to diagnose and repair in field, and great up-time.
The real costs wont be know till for 10 years after deployment and then we’ll know if performance based
solutions really save bucks.

JSF is a bomb carrying, steathly airplane that takes situational awareness to a whole new level. One engine or two is a bargaining chip between the engine developers. When you choose only one engine supplier, you have to dance with the one you brought. Lockheed along with Northrup and BAE are trying to satisfy 5 primary military groups and 8 different countries to boot. Pushing the envelope of technology — to boldly go when no one has gone before — has inherent risks and the potential for cost increases. Add to that the change in requirements from the 5 military groups and you have the engineering costs to go with it.

It is aparent that Boomer has never been nor has any desire to work on the contract side of things. He has no understanding of what we must go through in order to get anything changed and are not free to do as we wish. Maybe he should try out this side for a while and then he will understand just how unorganized our Government really is.

USNA_USMC_93, does not the word “whom” imply a preposition? Should it not be “who do you think…”? So much for grammar. Every snafu needs a fall guy, too bad that Heinz was on the radar. Gates’ action will send a message to every program manager. Too bad they did not consider a Rolls-Royce engine in the first place.

No I have never been a contractor, I couldnt because I didnt want to wait 5 years to get a good paying job which is what I would had to of done sinse I am retired military so I came back to work for the military. But I know for a fact That contractors have made changes due to conversations they had with govt individuals and then tried to bill us for them and sometimes won which is why we now have disclaimers at the bottom of our e mails stating that nothing in here constitues a contract mod. I’m not saying all contractors are bad and definately not saying anything bad about the contractor work force. But there are many in the big four that are driven only by the dollar any way they can get it. And many of them hate me because I have cost them millions in rejected product more than once that I found after it got past the local govt QA.

You CAN’T can LM…they have become (in essence) a ‘single source’ vendor for fighter A/C.
Who’s going to take over.…Boeing? Nope.. Northrop…no way. MacDonnell is now Boeing..There’s no one left to be a PM for fighter A/C folks…

Like the recommendations about the “to big too fail” banks, why not break it up? At least we’d get some competitive prices.

The F-35 program should just be cancelled outright, the thing is a P.O.S. and will not perform the tasks required of it. The stealth factor is all ready negated, “see aviation week magaine’s article on the new russian made S.A.M. that will shoot down all aircraft accept the F-22″, which in my opinion is the only aircraft we (the U.S.) should be buying other wise we have to go back to the old vietnam yank and bank tactics which is a step way back. its just not good tactics, policy or wise expendatue of time and money. kill the sob and be done with it. P.S. If Heinz is a marine, than he is above that crummy job any way. whooyaa and semper fi..

DuckPerry,

i do not know what you know about the defense contractors but I have been in the military aviation industry fror 40 years, I have seen them all and worked on every military aicraft made since the 1960’s and even some before that, in my opionion, the best maker was MCdonnel Douglas which proved this with the A-4,Skyhawk, The F-4 phantom, and then again with the F-15 eagle, all unbeatable aircraft, second to them was northrop, which produced the T-38, F-5,F-20, YF-23, B-2 and more, so there record speaks for its self, what fighter aicraft has Lockheed MArtin built, The F-16? which was actually General dynamics? The aircraft was a P.O.S. from the start, it costs billions of dollars to fix the factory flaws over a 20 year period of time from the hydraulic and fuel systems that would do auto dumps of the fluids to the wiring that would chafe and cause malfunctions all causing crashes that cost lives and money, they do not have a good track record. Northrop os way more qualified than LM.

Does this mean: you actually might agree that no one should be accountable? LM maybe? Perish the thought. Our billions disappear into the ether. Everyone is a real great manager and a noble patriot besides. When will the waste stop? When we are out of money. Or when the DOD and its components all agree that there are other priorities in this country, besides defense.

Could it be that he is a great leader, but an ineffective program manager? Or do we wanna just tag Gates as a mindless political guy? Heck no.

How about doing a nice Aerospace Corp or MITRE or RAND study on what the problem is. So we will then know whom to fire or pillory. How about replacing the contractor? Just kidding. But they need to suffer financially for their performance, too. Oops, did I say that?

Hey, Mrs. Usetobe: we can consider those good, weighty issues, AND can the MG for his contribution to further waste and delay and confusion. Sure we need the plane, but we need stronger program executives.

LH: I like your commentary, but asking for disclosure is a bit much when you, understandably, do not identify yourself–unless you are the LH scrawled.… In any case, replies to your commentary seem to imply that the F-22 was obviously needed. When will the gluttonous grip on taxpayer money be loosened. Congress people, warfighters, contractors think they are entitled to almost anything they want. I love that because the first engine program is botched, our approach is just to start a second engine program, which will have a similar fate, regardless of the purported “lower” cost. Get real, people, Gates is on our side. He hates waste and the line of bloviation that can be expected from the Services and their lacky suppliers.

They should all be fired. It’s amazing how most of the fools want to keep alive the industrial military welfare complex, building junk we really don’t need or/ and afford. Soon we will be Argentina w nukes, with all this hardware, while this country crumbles from underneath us. You were the same fools that love Gates while a Bush official, but now you don’t. Maybe we should bring back the incompetent loser draft dodger of Rumsfeld. He was a real loser, like some of you are. Guy’s face it, we can’t afford all this crap, or maybe we can borrow more money from China to build it.

I spent a year with Dave Heintz at the Naval War College. He was and is a highly respected Marine and leader. He’s a fall guy for this one. I hope the Marine Corps gives him an Air Wing and continues to march.

Interesting that a DOD journal cannot get their rank identification straight. A Vice Admiral is not a three-star general — duh!!!

duh!!! check out Wikipedia and you’ll see that Vice Admiral is equivalent to a 3 star general.

this program from the beginning was bad ‚you got people that only care about paying some one off and taking care of there friends .…..and now this sec. is going to fire the guy he just put there last year…this shows me they all are useless in what they do,so there is only one thing to do,stop the program now and then they should all quit.…

I am just submitting a uneducated guess, but do you know if Secretary Gates was ever in the military???
Typical military in numerous cases; the guys in the Ivory Towers, making stupid decisions that could be life-threatening for the guys in the trenches!!!!

Dial up the chaplain’s site if you want a pity party, pinhead. The Marine will be likely end up in better shape than the F35 program.…a program designed to build a sub-optimal weapon as a one-size-fits-all to save money and support military missions that time has past by

I sure do.…have 550 hours in the “clever McNamara multi-role” machine

Considering the F135 generates some 40,000+ pounds of thrust with afterburner, some 28,000 pounds of thrust without AB, and is therefore one of the most powerful fighter engines in existence, I think there are far bigger problems than the F135 if that isn’t enough thrust.

Perhaps GE should continue work on the F120 and F136 for the sake of the ADVENT program, but otherwise I see no need to them. And P&W makes remarkable engines with just a portion of the political love that GE gets.

Common sense. Lessons to learn. Not sure we are better tha them.

With the JSF they are trying to make a jack of all trades, but as the saying goes, Jack of all trades master of nothing. Expecting one plane to master all these tasks for each service is foolish at best.

It’s not “whom” but “who.” The word “whom” is properly used when it is a object pronoun of the verb, but you are trying to use it as the subject of the verb. So be careful when you rip someone else’s grammar.

“One would never use whom as the subject of a verb” cf. http://​en​.wiktionary​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​w​h​o​m​#​U​s​a​g​e​_​n​o​tes

Agreed ! Focus, Focus„ Focus. I’ve yet to see anything that is all thing to all missions.

Desception through one’s eye’s, is but hidious into mind, for desception, is the great deciever, but the mind is the follower. So barney & friend’s, skate free at will to decieve. Your going burn with Satan & follower’s.

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