AF Worries JSF Costs May Soar

AF Worries JSF Costs May Soar

Senior Air Force leaders are growing increasingly concerned that Joint Strike Fighter maintenance and operating costs will rise far above previous estimates.

A source familiar with the issue said that the Air Force believes a study performed by the Navy one year ago looks increasingly accurate, based on preliminary data the service has compiled. Buzz readers will remember that the Navy study found the F-35 would cost between 30 percent and 40 percent more per plane than does the current F/A-18 fleet. Since one of the primary goals of the F-35 program, with its web of international partners, was to lower maintenance costs by achieving economies of scale through large program buys by a significant number of countries this would call into question one of the fundamental goals of the program. Another key to achieving those savings was an international PBL contract (Performance Based Logistics). It would spread work share throughout the JSF allies and guarantee greater economies of scale than the U.S. could achieve on its own.

Here’s how Lockheed Martin described a PBL in a briefing on PBL: “An alternative logistics support solutions that transfers traditional DoD/MoD inventory, supply chain and technical support functions to the supplier for a guaranteed level of performance at the same or reduced cost at the Platform level.” That briefing has graphics showing operation and sustainment costs actually coming down over time for the JSF program, compared to the usual steady spiral upwards.

But the Gates Pentagon has veered sharply away from the idea of PBLs. Dan Goure of the Lexington Institute recently offered this capsule summary of the arguments for and against PBLs:

“DoD executives have repeatedly asserted that contractor logistics support (CLS) and performance-based logistics (PBL) contracts are too expensive and that the government could do the same work for less.

“These kinds of assertions fly in the face of available evidence. Data available to DoD officials clearly demonstrates that private sector support is generally less costly than the same work done by the organic or government sustainment system. The Air Force’s own data shows that the average annual cost growth for aircraft programs supported solely from the organic industrial base was greater than that for aircraft programs under either PBL or CLS arrangements. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics has identified a set of PBL contracts which collectively have saved the government more than $1.5 billion.”

But a source close to the program believes the Air Force is creating its own cost problem by insisting on manning levels based on the F-16. This source said the Air Force is, instead of considering the impact of a PBL when combined with the advanced parts management systems built into the F-35, modeling O and S costs on the F-16 program. Because of the predictive parts monitoring built into the JSF, it should need significantly fewer people to maintain it. The much older F-16 requires many more people to perform maintenance than should the JSF, this source argues. And those people are very expensive, especially over time. So the new model’s costs are much higher.

The source familiar with the Air Force position said the service wanted to front-load the early phases of the plane’s deployment with government workers instead of, as has happened with most past programs, of relying on substantial contractor support. Since a PBL relies on contractor support that approach would seem to rule out a PBL

Watch for the allies to press hard on this issue. One of the primary reasons many of them joined the program — aside the from the advanced capabilities of the plane — was the combination of lower life cycle costs and their chance to help produce those parts.

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America has always been a great exporter of weapons around the world. Here’s a chance to wipe out alot of our country’s $14, 000,000,000,000 debt: offer to build and sell and service JSF’s to anyone at all ! Seriously, Russia, China, etc. They wouldn’t use these aircraft against us because we would have the exclusive service contract ! It’s time to Think Outside The Box, as America is in Dire Straights financially, not militarily.

LM had 4th quarter net profits of 18.9% this year , I’m sure there so happy, to bad they keep charging us the Taxpayers for a plane that is behind so far schedule, and has so many more problems, that are just to long to list. Cancel the money pit the F-35 has become, and buy some aircraft that actually work.


Either this article is confused or DoD is confused. PBL does NOT necessarily mean contractor maintenance. I can’t claim to be 100% expert on these issues, but my instincts tell me that PBL is a farce. Folks, designing/producing/fielding/operating & supporting defense systems requires LABOR & MATERIAL. REQTS need to be defined and PLANS must be made in order to estimate LABOR & MATERIAL COSTS. if you have reqts & a plan, it don’t matter what type of strategy you pursue, because you can’t make decisions.

Due to past failures, new obfuscating management gimmicks are pitched as the solution to an incompetent, corrupt organization’s past failures. But if you chase a new gimmick and have not addressed the underlying problems you have more of the same CRAP we see in program after program. Right now JSF reeks of incompetence, stupidity, and inability to make decisions. It’s possible the “Senior Air Force” leaders are leaking this info because they’ve recognized the program is a pooch screw, and this is a tactic to get Congress to kill the program. They keep chasing failure after failure. So now they believe “organic (assume govt employees) can do the sustainment cheaper”… Wow so they’ll argue that debate over and over again, until they realize WG’s and GS’s suck at real maintenance work then they’ll run back to contractors. The whole situation is pathetic and stems from the chasing of gold plated platform centric defense solutions as opposed to incremental improvement and actually FIXING problems that have occurred in the past.

“William C.”, show me your guts now, come out in defense of the whole F-35 program!!!

PBL is not always a bad thing. I questioned this when there were rumbles that DOD wanted to get away from it. This will only work if you have the skillsets. We have been deskilling the USAF whole-sale by getting rid of maintainers. Where is the tribal knowledge supposed to come from to pick up the PBL workload? You can not just grow a maintainer overnight.
USAFs lost decade sinking into the abyss of losing understanding of how to perform maintenance. USAF mantenance management is becoming an institutional has-been. Past glory alone will not fix this.

As for the F-35. Shocking that all those PowerPoint lies (cheaper to maintain and acquire than an F-16) never came true. Gee how did that happen?

(1) JSF F-35 was designed using a plug-and-play components maintenance concept. Pop the outside pane, replace the component. That should drive maintenance costs down. I suspect that oversized Pratt and Whitney F135 engine that requires all aircraft carriers to modify their equipment stowage areas because they are beheamoths helps drive maintenance costs up. It is also the dirtiest and nosiest engine ever developed.

(2) In the government versus contractor for maintenance debate, the contractor price should be higher by the value of the profits and income taxes the contractor adds to the price they charge the government. To ensure the best maintenance crews, why not keep that capability in-house. Not as civilian employees, but as military personnel? Maybe that will re-instill integrity in our maintenance crews.

Good Evening Folks,

Over the past two years the F-35 has been a constant. Nothing ever seems to ever get done. Even when a restart was granted in late 2009 by washing all the past development costs out of the program and the price rolled back from a $110 million per unit to $92 million, it quickly jumped to $122 million.

The base problem of course is that to many Generals and Admirals who have based their whole military careers and their post military careers on L/M and subcontractors employing them as consultants for an annual eight figure pot of money.

Does it take an Einstein to come up with the principle that doing the same stupid thing over again and expecting different results just doesn’t work. The is one number that nobody has come up with how much per day is the F-35 costing the taxpayer while the DoD screws around debating the obvious?

Byron Skinner

What happens when China buys two and reverse-engineers the technology right into the J-20?

Just order a specific number with a fix contract. That will do the job done.

Well there are still India, Kuwait, Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are interested to buy it.

I don’t often find many things Byron says with which to agree.

But here I find one that is quite compelling and worthy of putting back into plain, simple language.

The JSF Program of Record is the biggest defense acquisition fraud, ever!

As for PBL and all that stuff.

Wasn’t it that TV-screen bespeckled former defense acquisition guru, Darleen somethin’-or-other, who spoke about TSPR and PBL type contracting in such glowing terms to our Congressional Committees, saying things akin to:

“These are innovative, modern-day, alternative logistics support solutions. They are specifically designed to transfer the risks of the traditional DoD/MoD acquisition process, inventory, supply chain and technical support functions to the supplier for a guaranteed level of performance at a greatly reduced cost to the War Fighter”.

Inspiring stuff, only if it were true in anywhere other than in her head and the heads of those sitting on the benches of Congressional Committees.

The concept for a multi-service F-16, F/A-18, and AV-8 replacement was good. The execution is flawed. That’s the best I can say.

When the F-35C is heavier than a Super Hornet and the F-35A is just short of 30,000 lbs empty, they are trying to stuff too much into that airframe.

Perhaps the STOVL requirement has dragged the program down, but I doubt there would have been the money or will to develop a separate STOVL aircraft. Perhaps I’m just a Harrier fanboy but I think that STOVL capability is a good thing to have.

I disagree… the concept for a multi-service replacement for those three aircraft was an awful idea. Too many compromises are made trying to consolidate three different kinds of aircraft that are designed for three different operating environments (CTOL, carrer-based STOL and V/STOL). A less ambitious project would’ve worked.… namely eliminating the V/STOL requirement.

One of the Swedish demands is that the maintenance of the aircraft must be simple, it helps to keep the costs down. On the spot you only need people that replace equipment boxes. The equipment that need maintenance are send to the factory (centralized) that build these boxes, far more efficient and cost effective.

that’s calculed with all intentional plane order of all country? i have big doubt, than all european will buy their initial command and US to.They can say USA go buy 5000 f-35 and say the plane cost 60 million but that’s irreal like today
USA search everywhere new buyers for save the f​-35​.No one country have ordered the command of the f-35, you can’t fix one price today when we know all financial problem in all f-35 partners.

ELP is right, the USAF and the other departments are all losing the type of maintainers we had on our legacy systems. If we do not change how we pick, grow, train and sustain our Aircraft system maintainers its only going to get worse. I don’t care how much “plug n play” the F35 is suppose to be, a well trained maintainer is still needed if we want to keep O&S costs managable. On PBL’s., it works for some systems and its just not practicle for others. I think a PBL can be successful for several of the operating systems associated with the F35…one close and dear to my heart is the propulsion system. Both the Navy and Army are very satisfied with the F414 and T700 PBL’s respectively.

The reason you’re hearing all these problems about JSF now is because Lockheed has stopped blocking all but the good news from getting out. Lockheed wants this program to get cancelled before it goes into production. That way they get another shot at another airplane development program. Designing airplanes provides a higher profit margin that building them! How many times does a defense contractor need to screw you over before you realize what their game is?

Most of the comments so far show an absolute bias against the JSF that is based on B*S and screaming. Reality is missing. It would appear most do not know aircraft, procurement, maintenance, and basic engineering.
PBL is a concept of supporting the jet and the warfighter. But every PBL is tailored by the service and DoD. There are so many players in the picture, from the companies involved to the military logistic centers that want the work. By law, 50% of depot maintenance must be at gov’t facilities. The military can use new jets to support more demands for men, money, and bases. The log centers always want more “organic capabilities.” Congressmen want everything in their districts to create more jobs.
So there are winners and losers in every new program, at all levels of military and civilian strata.

JSFMIKE the latest DoD SAR shows the Program Acquisition cost for the JSF grew from $233B to $330B for a decrease from 2900 to 2500 aircraft. Is this part of the bias and “B*S” against your precious JSF. Is quoting data to stubborn people like you displaying a lack of knowledge of aircraft, procurement, maintenance, bsic engineering???
Just to clarify one thing. The 50/50 law is applied at Service & DoD level. There’s no reqt for any specific program to be 50/50. Leaders who know how to define, plan, and navigate these waters can produce results from billions of dollars in development dollars.
Just admit it. The JSF program is mismanaged and displays the classic errors of the worst defense acquisition programs. A failure to define requirements, develop executable concepts and plans, and intentional low balling of estimates to obtain buy in from our suckers, I mean, leaders.

thank you for your comment. The more we speak out and oppose this crap the better service and systems we will get to our men & women on the front line.

He Air Force try this approach, Any more cost overruns will be the responsibilty of Lockheed and will not be passed on. Amazing Lockheed can never bid a contract that within 6 months they will be behind schedule and over cost.

Anyone recall how the JPO poopoo’d the Navy O&S report last March?

Lies and Damned Lies…

This is a bottomless money pit.

And as a bonus, your tax dollars pay 100% of Lockheed’s CEO’s $34 million salary! They don’t have a single program that’s on schedule and on budget, but he can make 9 times what the president of the United States makes, hell, he makes in a day what most American taxpayers make in a year, and his company is a consistently poor performer. The thing is, who’s really to blame here? You pay Lockheed more to screw you than you do if they perform well, then you wonder why they screw you. It’s gotta change.

Yes. But she went to jail.

That’s it, show him!

To the poster “William C.”

You wrote:
1) “The concept for a multi-service F-16, F/A-18, and AV-8 replacement was good. The execution is flawed. That’s the best I can say.”
2) “Perhaps the STOVL requirement has dragged the program down, but I doubt there would have been the money or will to develop a separate STOVL aircraft.”

That was when the procession was still in the church atrium!!! But 30 years and 49,3 b(B)illion $ later we’re supposed to be ANYWHERE PAST concept discussions!!!

Still, I gotta leave you that: You shall forever be remembered in this discussion forum for your famous “Last ‘William C.’ Stand” to defend the F-35. Will there ever have been a truer heir to George Custer than you?

I don’t think saying words in defense of the F-35 is equivalent to Custer’s last stand. Your being a bit too dramatic don’t you think? I’ve hardly been the loudest defender of the F-35 here anyway.

Just as the F-111 found it’s niche I believe the F-35 can find one too.

Simplicity is a virtue that not just keeps costs down, but also decreases aircraft downtimes, thereby increases mission availability. Increased mission availability alone can be a force multiplier. However most often, many key operational capabilities are lost… stealth, for example.

The idea of centralized maintenance with the manufacturer works well for the Swedish, who are less expeditionary by nature. Their military doctrine and requirements supports their neutral stance from throughout the Cold War and world affairs. An interesting note is that during the Cold War, they knew they couldn’t stop the Soviet advance should they move against the Swedish. But their military doctrine called for making the Soviets pay for every square inch of land they took. Hence the requirements for the Saab JAS-39 Gripen to be able to land and take off from public freeways, and can have their quick-turns done by mobile maintenance, armament and refuel trucks on those freeways in 15 minutes.

The USAF and USN centralizes as much aircraft maintenance as possible but can’t completely do so. For example, under the three-level maintenance doctrine, all F-15’s go to Robins AFB for programmed depot maintenance, while most bases centralize the intermediate-level maintenance for the numerous flying squadrons on base, and each squadron takes care of their own operational-level maintenance. Some bases are too small or simply do not possess the facilities for intermediate-level maintenance, and sends their jets to a nearby base that does.

Viewed the link provided.
Net earnings on net sales for the period covered is about 7.7%. Translation: LM is a ‘mid-performing’ company.
Now we have to determine if it is your reading comprehension, financial managment, math, or prevarication skills (or all of the above) that are as pathetic as your grasp of aerospace and defense.

This was a fairly decent article. Wanders only a little bit, and captures the essence of the disparity in cost estimates. All the PBL naysayers obviously have not reviewed the results. PBL in all its forms emphasizes supplier accountability for end performance. For the F-35, PBL means all the major systems have been designated ‘Core’ under USC Title 10. This means at least 50% of the dollars must be spent on DoD ‘organic’ (think Depot) support. This means the depots will be made to perform like a commercial concern operating under an agreement whereby the f-35 program holds LM accountable, who holds the supplier accountable, who holds the Depot accountable.

Depots are already doing this under other program efforts and it has been a steep learning curve for them. This arrangement incentivizes the suppliers to make their systems more reliable, and repair/support operations more efficient/cheaper. It has the added benefit of being a major success story to-date. I find a second benefit is that it irritates the he** out of the Gov’t Employee Unions who thought they bought the last Presidential election to stop this kind of work transfer.
BTW: If you want to blame something for the deterioration of technical skills among military aerospace techs, blame R&M 2000. The most successful program that you’ll never find a decent modern reference to: it worked so well nobody except the bean-counters and troops whose service spanned generations of tech even noticed.

The Navy O&S report is still poopoo

That last sentence is laughably bureaucratic.

I agree with you. SMSgt Mac is supportive of all things DoD & defense industry, regardless of how pathetic the results are. “F-35 holds LM holds supplier holds Depot accountable”… Are we suggesting that Government logistics centers will be on contract to LM’s sub-contractors?? What nonsense. Chantelle confirmed my PBL suspicions above. It is a pretty safe bet that anything that has Darlene Druyen’s stink on it is riddled with incompetence & corruption. PBL Is a smoke and mirrors game used to obfuscate and reduce accountability for poor decision making & planning. I know something about PBL, I once wrote a how to guide on developing the Business Case Analysis for PBL. PBL BCAs if they are even done at all, should be done using the discipline of Cost Benefit Analysis.

In my book, Cost Overruns: What’s Wrong and How To Fix It, I illustrate how there are 2 important missing considerations from CBA: Uncertainty & Risk. During SDD, many PM’s & Senior Leaders do not manage the 50/50, Core, organic/depot mix question through development of a well defined COA. PBL is a game that keeps people guessing so real analysis and accountability of any chosen COA is obfuscated to the point where everyone can escape accountability.

The thing is.. we can probably hold the PM accountable for the program failure. LM could be working and fulfilling all their contractual requirements. If the PM is not managing requirements, and letting them increase and increase above scope, then LM is arguablly not at fault.

“JSF POR is biggest defense acquisition fraud, ever1” LOL that’s how I felt about FCS when my sorry butt was stuck on that POR.… Thanks for linking Darlene to PBL.. that confirmed to me my suspicions about PBL.

this is basically what the latest LRIP contract did, we got a specific number of jets for a fixed price.. but those jets are unfinshed. The unit costs are still too high though and can still increase further since JSF is still in development. DoD is counting on unit costs for the whole production run (2400+ jets) to decrease due to learning curve improvements. However, these learning benefits are often overstated and not achieved.

Speaking generally.… civilian or contractor technicians are better for highly specialized labor, since the military members have wars to fight, deployments, professional military education, and career (leadersip) development. Systems need to be supported by a mix of military, govt civilian, and contract labor. There is so much uncertainty in cost benefit analysis of different options though, there really is no right answer that can be applied to all situations. The most important ingredient is leadership. Without good leadership and decision making, any mix of support labor can fail. You often get what you pay for. BUT, it is also possible that a better led but less costly mix of mil, civ, ctrs, can OUTPERFORM a more expensive mix of mil, civ, ctrs, if they are led by morons.

the maintenance concept you describe is nothing new. I worked on B-1B, designed in the 70’s/80’s, that used a central diagnostic system to fault isolate, leading to remove/replace/retest maintenance practices. However this is an oversimplification of how complex maintenance is. Proper maintenance requires disciplined systems thinking. There are often system problems, such as improper connections, improperly loaded software but poor maintainers often just remove & replace parts, that often get sent to backshop/depot test equipment, which test out OK. These problems & inefficiencies are nothing new, but we industry & DoD constantly develop tricky new gimmicks with promises of great O&M savings. This is done to escape accountability for past failures and to not actually have to fix what was broke in the past.

“Are we suggesting that Government logistics centers will be on contract to LM’s sub-contractors?? “
No, ‘we’ aren’t suggesting anything. I am asserting that under the PBL Implementation agreements, if the Depot does not ‘perform’ it will get no more than the 50% workload under Title 10 and could very well lose its 50% to another MRC. If it performs well, it can earn a greater workshare.
Given your rather shakey grasp of PBL performace to-date,
I fear for those who had to absorb your ‘how-to’ guide: i.e. no doubt a classic example of ‘those who can’t,.. teach’. Which also perhaps explains the fair Chantelle as well.(I only hope the young skulls full of mush, that must suffer her presence on the weekdays are of the age where they will tend to blow off her tripe.)

Ah„„,shilling for a book. Shoulda known.

let’s see if I can fix up some more damage you’ve done. You say you are not “suggesting” but that you are “asserting”. Well I just went to thesaurus​.com and guess what — they mean the same thing: http://​thesaurus​.com/​b​r​o​w​s​e​/​s​u​g​g​e​s​t​ing unless you can somehow wiggle your way into some brilliant distinction. NOW in your earlier statement “f-35 program holds LM accountable, who holds the supplier accountable, who holds the Depot accountable” you are PLEASE going to have to tell us how we are supposed to GLEAN your new assertion based on the previous statement??? AND FINALLY — how is all this “depot does not perform it will get no more than the 50%”.. talk, your new assertion, supposed to happen without a contractual arrangement?? I suppose you’ve already thought through that there are often DISAGREEMENTS between parties… such as Depot and PM as to if performance is being done? Your other statements are are unprofessional, underserving of your title. In a previous post you plugged your BLOG, you hypocrite.

There are many theoretically good concepts out there. Execution is what matters, ie — genius is 1% inspiration 99% perspiration. So trying to salvage F-35 as a good decision since it was a “good concept”, which in itself is debatable as demonstrated, is a rather worthless point.

RE: ‘Suggesting’ vs. ‘asserting’. Well I’d call ‘caviling’ on this one, but you bring it on yourself and no ‘wiggling’ required. Answer: Get a better reference. How about Princeton’s Wordnet? (http://​wordnet​.princeton​.edu/)
Asserting: (v) assert, asseverate, maintain (state categorically) : (v) affirm, verify, assert, avow, aver, swan, swear (to declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true) : (v) assert, put forward (insist on having one’s opinions and rights recognized) : (v) insist, assert (assert to be true)
Suggesting: (v) propose, suggest, advise (make a proposal, declare a plan for something) : (v) hint, suggest (drop a hint; intimate by a hint) : (v) suggest, intimate (imply as a possibility) : (v) indicate, suggest (suggest the necessity of an intervention; in medicine) : (v) suggest, evoke, paint a picture (call to mind)
If you can’t tell the difference in meaning between the two terms, it is clearly not my problem. BTW: The more pedestrian [(adj) prosaic, prosy, earthbound (lacking wit or imagination)] ‘Miriam-Webster’ online dictionary definitions of these terms parallel Wordnet’s quite closely.

RE: Accountability, 50–50, and disagreements. Your clinging to the ‘contractual’ aspect is interesting: As if you believe that is the only thing that ‘counts’ in accountability– mental tic that screams ‘bean counter’. Ya gotta’ broaden your perspective. The ‘$/contractual’ arrangements are between the Program Office & the ASC/Prime Contractor, & between the Prime & suppliers. But the most important parts of PBL are Partnering Agreements between the players (and IMAO especially between the Program Office & the Warfighter). The depots are accountable to the suppliers for performing the work (& Suppliers accountable for providing support) via Public-Private Partnership Agreements. The terms of the agreements are worked out & renewed to the mutual satisfaction of the players or it doesn’t ‘happen’ at all. (continued)

(continued from above) Mechanisms for dispute resolution, ambiguity adjudication & remedies are put in place as part of the agreements. In the PBL paradigm, the needs of the Warfighter count. If depot performance does not meet agreed upon criteria & the root cause belongs to the depot, work above the 50% level can & will be contracted out if the Program Office so determines. More likely, changes will be made at the depot. If the depot work meets or exceeds expectations, the depot will keep the work.

RE: In a previous post you plugged your BLOG, you hypocrite.
I initially used my blog to communicate major ideas with family and friends scattered to far-flung places. I have come to use it almost as often as a resource that keeps me from having to type the same 1000 word ‘fisking’ for the umpteenth time of stupid/ill-formed/erroneous or outright lying assertions being made for the umpteenth time. If you cannot detect the very large difference between referencing a blog post on a personal blog and a reference promoting a book, then your reasoning skills are as poor as your vocabulary. Hypocrite? Your Hybris is palpable.
Finally…RE: Your other statements are are unprofessional, unde[r]serving of your title.
LOL — What? You weren’t active duty long enough to have had a Senior NCO rub your nose up and down his sleeve so you could count the bumps when you went off the reservation? That role is the most essential of the SNCO’s duties..and the reason it takes a “four star” to bust an E-8/E-9.

In closing, I visited your You Tube channel. Other than the ‘Cost Insurance Pool’, which isn’t exactly compatible with acquisition law, I saw nothing new or different from the current body of thought or practice. Even if I chose to run my program as a ‘portfolio’ of sub-programs, the color of money issue would prevent me from doing so effectively. The rest of your presentations could have been lifted from almost any relevant textbook. The clinical glossing over of the singularly dominant ‘political’ considerations of managing ‘risk’ and ‘value’ combined with zero discussion of on-again, off-again funding streams screams a certain naiveté in regards to the real world. The utility of probabilistic simulations in providing decision-makers background data cannot be denied. But the fact that we live in N.N. Taleb’s ‘Extremistan’ & not ‘Mediocristan’ means that Monte Carlo limitations are not only real, but over-reliance on them is eventually disastrous. Get a couple more dozen programs and decades worth of experience under your belt. By then I’ll be retired, and if you are teachable, you will be explaining all this to the next generation of earnest number crunchers.

Regarding Cost Overrun Insurance not being compatible with acquisition law — this is why I present it as a proposed policy solution. Independent Costing & Testing & Nunn McCurdy were never law at one point either. You misunderstand (happens alot when you rush to judgment & ad hominem attacks) the portfolio/program/project structure. Portfolio management is a way to management investments at enterprise level. We do this so we can diversify and reduce risks to the enterprise — so we do not fall victim to any one stupid PM. As far as color of money go — sounds like you need to improve your ability to estimate costs per appropriation category and smaller breakouts (EEIC) accordingly. Or you are aware that reprogramming of funds is possible correct?

If you had the humility and people skills to engage with cost estimators, instead of using perjorative terms and placing undue faith in the current practice of unexecutable programs to begin with, you could probably become more ‘effective’ in this area. You’re going to have to expain the ‘political’, ‘risk’, ‘value’ complaint a little bit below. As far as me missing on again off again funding streams you are aware that there is a finite amount of information that I can put into a presentation or book correct? I am quite aware of this programmatic risk. I actually do account for it as either a Known Unknown or Unknown Unknown variable that is either very difficult or not accounted for in a cost model, including Monte Carlo Simulation. The solution to this would be my cost overrun insurance pool, which since it comes from me, you mock. Another solution would be more effective risk management in general. Hopefully you can agree we in DoD are rather poor at this and there are many current poor practices, I refer you to Hubbard’s Failure of Risk Management and the fallacy of using ordinal scales for measurement when quantiative measures (Monte Carlo) are available.

THANK YOU for acknowledging the utility of simulation, your statement can be classified as a gross understatement, similar to saying Bernoulli’s principle has some utility to powered flight. I assure you my finger is intimately on the pulse of what goes between PM’s, Service HQ’s, and OSD CAPE. MCS is an underutilized tool with tragic results. The reason it is underutilized is because of the incompetent & corrupt nature of leadership, who commit us to action with insufficient attention to uncertainty & risk. As far as Taleb, you must have missed my presentation on the limitations of Monte Carlo Simulation, I do not make the mistake of over-reliance on them, but they are an order of magnitude better than over-reliance on point estimates. Extremistan is captured in the tails of the probability distributions of estimated outcomes. We can argue over shapes of distributions to be sure, but we’ve got poor data, poorly structured systems, poorly planned & executed programs, and unwise commitment to excessively risky concepts to begin with.

I’ve got all the experience I need to make wiser decisions that superiors with decades worth of experience. If leadership had not been so committed to a foolish COA in one of the programs on my resume, and followed my advice, we’d be billions of dollars and years ahead in force modernization. So darn us number crunchers. But someone had to do it to pay your salary too, you’re welcome.

Your right about execution, but there are undoubtedly people working their asses off trying get the program on track, don’t underestimate what they may be able to pull off. If the F-35 can do one role well, it should do that rather than scrapping the whole program and starting back at square one.

Is it me or has saying anything good about the F-35 here become some sort of heresy?

your analysis exhibits all the professionalism of a 4 year old. congrats

all the hard work in the world means nothing if it is not done on the right things. When it comes to defense acquisition, we cannot afford foolish concepts & execution. Suppose they even pull off a miracle rescue — you then have to weigh the investment against possible alternative investments. The DoD SAR presents a pretty damning case:
Program Acquisition cost for the JSF grew from $233B to $330B for a decrease from 2900 to 2500 aircraft.
As far as scrapping the whole program, often this is a wise move if one is in a fubar situation. Fools will cry out to keep things going out of a fallacious Sunk Cost argument.

Sunk cost is an all too real thing, and like it or not continuing the program will probably be cheaper than starting a program for a new fighter.

We could draft up the requirements tommorow for a F-16 replacement, but it will still have to travel the same path the F-35 has in it’s development. It may be cheaper than the JSF program when you factor in the B and C models, but it won’t be cheaper than the cost of finishing development and testing of the A model.

We need to be stricter about the specifications and what cost we are willing to pay, but with that in mind Lockheed deserves another shot at getting the program on track.

They should be making profit only when they are on schedule and on budget.

every failure program tries to stay alive using sunk cost rationalizing. should tell you something. it’s easy to give in to this kind of reasoning when future generations will be paying for the present one’s mistakes. this is how we end up $14 T in debt, $50-$100 T+ unfunded liabilities, decrepid weapon systems, modernization that is too late and too costly, and when we actually get into war and realize our enterprise-wide deficiencies that we should have used our peacetime investment dollars & precious time identifying & solving, we end up needing supplementals and all their associated evils to buy non-developmental items. no point in arguing any more with you, if you believe the status quo is acceptable.
a real AoA would identify more affordable alternatives then the JSF COA. disagree that new acquisitions “still have to travel the same path.”. For one thing, a program (or several programs for diversification) structured within ACAT 2 funding thresholds would not have to meet as stringent oversight as JSF. Second thing — Congress can make up any rules they want for special acquisition programs.
I do agree with you about requirements discipline and zero tolerance for cost overruns.

Most of our debt is not related to defense projects like these so I don’t think it is appropriate to attack the F-35 on those grounds. Indeed many programs have used the sunk cost argument but there is some good reason to that. Look at the Crusader and RAH-66. Rather than being canceled years earlier they get canceled shortly before the production stage because of a change in “vision” by Rumsfeld and others who embraced the FCS concept. Not only is that a complete waste of money, but 10 years later we have nothing.

If you keep changing plans in favor of the next best thing, your never going to get new equipment.

RE: “an alternate COA where we would upgrade existing platforms (F-15, F-16) and reattempt fighter modernization from a blank sheet.”
The two most important points you miss with this howler:
1. Upgrade existing platforms all you want and you just have ‘parity’ in the near term slipping to a deficient force of flying targets in the mid-term all the while dealing with aging and manufacturer base problems. Not safe. Definitely not cheap.
2. A reattempt involves future-year $ that will only be higher, and this will probably make your bean-counting head explode. I maintain that it is ALWAYS cheaper to proceed with a program than start a new one so long as the following conditions are met: a. the mission requirement still exists for the system and b. it is believed that the technical requirements can be satisfied by the system under development.
Minor point: Your are conflating projected estimated costs with actual costs (remember so far LRIP costs are tracking to LM’s cost curve not the Gov’t’s) and/or ignoring the fact that the Customer has traded risk for cost and schedule as a programmatic preference on almost all cost increases to date.

Can’t tell if you’re humorless, cluesless or both on the ‘transdimensional’ point. I used it as a metaphor for a long-tail that was so long it spanned dimensions (I did use it in its Cosmology sense, but it’s a little more involved than what you describe (planets, stars, etc): see http://​journalofcosmology​.com/​M​u​l​t​i​v​e​r​s​e​9​.​h​tml) to drive home the point that it didn’t matter if you could describe all possibilities, in Extremistan, among other things, your confidence in what each probability was under the curve approaches zero the farther you go into the tails. The use of the term merely upped the ante, and in turn the emphasis in response to your “cost estimate with a tail that stretches to infinity” exaggeration. I find your unfamiliarity with the term interesting though. After I posted it I was concerned you might confuse my use of the term with its meaning in statistics. I guess maybe I shouldn’t have been concerned. Search “transdimensional Markov chain Monte Carlo”, although in fairness “Transdimensional” is often hyphenated when used to describe statistical constructs. Maybe that’s why you missed it.
Nutjob? — Now THAT“S a fallacious Ad Hominem.

You’ve not posted anything materially factual on PBL so far, so why should I respond? I’ve only posted as to how PBL is supposed to work, the fact that so far it has always worked, and that the GAO wants to add more red tape to supposedly increase the accuracey of the accounting. What is ‘bliss’ about that? –Nothing. Nada, Zip.Zero.Nil.
BTW: .…not in response to any post you made per se,.…. BUT perhaps in a premonition over four years ago ‘someone’ –I’m not sayin’ who — posted what they thought of “Cobra II”. We won’t discuss it here,… but in case you’re interested….
No, don’t go there.….. seriously: better to blow it off.

What I was getting at above with the type of analysis that would be required in order to render a just verdict that PBL is a superior support strategy (since it is so nebulous and evolving as you say, a legitimate comparison is impossible to begin with) is a hypothesis test. You would have to set up an experiment with a null and alternative hypothesis, and have sufficient data and statistical analysis proving PBL is superior to other support strategies.

Since you are advocating PBL, the burden is on YOU to prove this. My instincts on this issue are correct. Any endeavor, such as support for a weapon system, will require labor & material that must be purchased at cost. Given uncertainty, there is no statistical proof of PBL superiority. Data cherry pickers or biased unscrupulous analysts can put together a report or journal article that might impress the easily impressed (you). And it’s interesting to see that you have not addressed the Powell to Bush Pottery Barn warning. Bush’s judgment to proceed with the Iraq War is similar to your judgment to proceed forward with doomed to failure acquisition programs. Don’t define, don’t plan, rush, get us all committed, and blame the issues that surface on “Extremistan” or “Transdimensional infinities” or any other obfuscating psycho philosophical babble talk you might like to invent in order to escape accountability, that also clouds further objective logical decision making. .

It’s sad that for all the taxpayer money we invested in your PME, we didn’t get a better strategic thinker. I have no doubt that you have valuable experience and skills, but your overall biased judgment coupled with unshakeable arrogance is quite a problem

I’m glad to entertain you, I look forward to years of this in the blogosphere. Perhaps you’ll have another laugh as I expose more of your arrogance. First it’s convenient for you to limit the scope of possibility when trying to prove your biased point. We have the F-22, with it’s highly touted 144:0 kill ratio. So based on your contrive type of thinking we are quite safe against thousand upon thousands of modern enemy fighters.

And then again, there is SEAD, strategic attack on enemy centers of gravity, interdiction, cyber attack, SOF, many many ways of neutralizing an enemy’s air force. but you wouldn’t let the bigger picture detract from your argument of course would you. Number two, this is really embarassing for you, you must think you are God don’t you?

Inflation & Deflation are both possible in the future. Your 100% confidence assertion of future year higher costs speaks to fallacious thinking of overconfidence and arrogance. The reason we are experiencing out of control cost growth is due to programs like JSF and your way of thinking. Now, DoD is so proud of its application of Learning Theory when it comes to manufacturing, true? If so then if we repeated manufacturing of our legacy platforms then we theoretically would get less and less costly platforms the more we manufactured. In response to your Minor Point — do the LRIP costs include the amortized RDT&E costs per jet, especially with regards to validated software? No? Then quit trying to trick us into thinking that the unfinished jets that are as useful to the warfighter as flying bricks right now are any demonstration of outstanding cost performance. And it’s also interesting to see that you are willing to throw your customer on the bus for program failure as well. This is the true harm of insidious cost overruns — they break and divide us, hurting our national security.

Your assertions and responses seem to be devolving, so I’ll keep within the borders of of your rational responses. Since you insist on pursuing the Powell/Pottery Barn anecdote, and you were not able to glean from ‘someone’s’ review I’ll be a little more explicit. I’m actually somewhat a fan of the Powell Doctrine of overmatching force, but I also understand the very real fear that Rumsfeld had about WMDs​.So ‘smaller force’. Where things went ‘wrong’ IMHO after major combat is why Paul Bremer should have sub-titled his book “My Lost Year In Iraq”. But that is just my opinion: as good as anyone else’s. You cannot assume any ‘if only’ alternative histories woud have resulted in any substantially different outcomes: you can only ‘believe’ what is not knowable. There’s those ‘Imponderables’ for you.

Heh. Opinions vary. I’m cool with it. [ ;-)

you should check out my youtube video on strategic decision making for an uncertain world. in academic poilcy debate there are affirmative and negative sides debating a resolution. there is exceptional burden on the affirmative side. this is logical policy making. so if one is going to disturb the status quo, they need to have a solution and they need to win on advantages over disadvantages as well.

in the case where we deal with ever-present uncertainty and the risk it creates, our best courses of action are ones that increase our utility for our risk tolerance. so in the case of Iraq, we opened up Pandora’s box. a few posts ago you were defending Bush as a victim against unknown unknowns. Now you are scapegoating Paul Bremer. Well guess what Bush was in charge of Paul Bremer, so Bush was responsible and had control over that unknown unknown. It’s called good management.

similarly, in defense acquisitions, people like you lead us into jumps in the dark with overconfident assertions of future threats and overconfident promises of defense technology and overconfident estimates at conception. in your case, you are still defending JSF even as AF Senior leaders are ‘worrying about soaring costs’. Senior Leaders are often the last to admit a problem, except for you. you’ve missed all the memos. now, for whatever JSF is estimated to cost or estimated to have cost, you have to ask yourself the question what were the policy alternatives that we could have pursued if we knew back then where we currently stand? I’ll “bottom line it for you” — we would have gotten much more defense bang for our buck then the lost in the woods JSF program.

well i give you credit for taking your professional development seriously, debating the issues, and having the guts to put your views with your name attached to them. there’s hope for you.

BUT education investment $$‘s should give us a sure return, there should not be any ‘varying opinions’ about that

If you’ve seen how poorly they’ve been spent in some areas, you may disagree. And of all of the places for education funding to come from, military procurement?

LOL…sure, that’ll work

First, i know little about f 15,f16 vrs f35. just reading the posts, it seems the cost/reliability question involves the private sector performance vrs military in keeping the plane in the air. does it boil down to employee/union/management contracts that are actually the problem. the military follows orders , the private sector follows labor contracts.. just a thought

Scapegoating? Please. A course of action was chosen out of many. If I look at that course of action at where things went ‘arwy’ I see it happened where Bremer chose to ignore the Military’s wishes to proceed with de-Baathification without wholesale deactivation of the national political, military, and legal systems. That’s where things went ‘wrong’. Who’s responsible at the top? CINC of course. Do we have a right to expect and or demand a President bats a thousand over a four year term? No. Was the ‘Bremer mistake’ fatal to the plan? No. (I submit a subversive left-wing political class was more of a problem) Did we still topple a regime and provide an opportuity for a country to start anew? Yes. So was ‘Iraq’ a failure? No. (and not just because the new President has declard it a win either).

RE: Opening Pandora’s Box. Pandora’s Box was opened in 1990s with the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. If you want to go back farther, it was opened when somebody didn’t put a bullet in the head of Khomeni when he was exiled in Paris.
You seem to have a somewhat Corporatist view of warfare, particularly an over confidence in ‘management’. techiques.

Well I’m sure that if there ever comes a time when the opinions of disgruntled junior cost analysts who rage against the injustices of a bigger badder world than they can possibly comprehend matter, it will make me feel all warm and cozy inside.
Watch out for those big ugly Black Swans.

did you have to go to staff college to learn how to pooch screw someone’s job title? hate to see what would have happened if you only went to SNCOA. don’t need to tell me about the bigger badder world — including cyber attacks, terrorism, domestic WMD attacks, unguarded borders, illegal immigration, drug wars, and gangs. F-35 is going to help us so much against those threats right? tell me can an adversary do more damage to the United States through a networked computer or through a Chinese J-20 prototype? nice to know your views on effective allocation of resources for national security. as far as black swans go, every analysis I do accounts for black swans. YOU are the one that is blind to black swans — just look at your overconfident assertions of PBL.

yes you are guilty of scapegoating. First Paul Bremer, now further back in history. This is a pattern of your behavior. When things go bad, shift all accountability from decisions made by leaders to whatever Extremistan unknown unknown factor is most convenient. If someone challenges you on that, find a new one. this is symptomatic of delusional narcissistic peresonality disorder. the first step to being cured is a diagnosis, so i’m glad to help you here.

SMSgt Mac — I see I made the Elements of Power blog — woo hoo. I couldn’t comment since I don’t have any of those accounts, but here’s my response:
Still can’t get past condescending name calling can’t you? FYI an implementation of cost overrun insurance would probably require more than a change to the FAR — I believe it would require a law. The precedent is already laid with P.L. 111–23 2009 Weapon System Acquisition Reform Act. You should check out the text requiring disclosure of confidence levels, which can only be justifiablly calculated by, what else, Monte Carlo Simulation. So you’re wrong that my ‘ideas seem to be in common use already.’ MCS is underutilized in DoD (who are actually the best practiciioners of estimating & engineering in the federal government), because PM’s, Senior Leaders, and even the Service HQ’s and OSD CAPE to some extent, are afraid of the ramifications.

This will change as more and programs fail at delivering cost, schedule, and performance. Per our previous discussion, you are right that there are limitations to simulation. Namely, programs stemming from flawed, unexecutable concepts, poor execution, and rubber baselining, defy application of MCS. So it’s just a matter of whether or not people will learn to apply the practices I recommend (and you are right to note that I am basically a by the book practicioner) or they don’t, in which case we will back to square one and new case studies in failed acquisitions.

F-35, the Monatary Black Hole — Endless amounts of money go in few if any results come out. When are we going to figure out that this program is perhaps the biggest acquisition failure in the history of the DoD. It is bankrupting us and there is no sign of light at the end of the tunnel.

An addtional

sadly we are getting used to these — we need a miracle in 2012

I too agree with you Weaponhead.
<a href=“”>Performance-Based Logistics Training — PBL Programs

I too agree with you Weaponhead. http://​thecenter​.utk​.edu/​c​m​s​/​p​e​r​f​o​r​m​a​n​c​e​-​b​a​s​e​d​+lo

JSF WORTHLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! F-22 is DEAD!!!!! Stealth is DEAD!!!! Thank you “General” (I am Worthless” Merrill Anthony “Tony” McPeak and of course Admiral “We must have 1000 additional 19knt Afterburning Ships, so to stop the madness I am now the Chairman of the JCS” Mullins, and of course the Prime “Give me additional Funds at 15% Profit after cost” Integrators for totally SCREWING Up the Air Force and Navy with your “Let put everything into Stealth”!!! Your Legacy Continues!!!!!

Giddy—UP_—-15–20 JSF JPO Program Managers in and out of the JSF Program in 15 plus years. Of course this includes this also includes the most resent Marine Corps Colonel that was fired/relieved of duty. The Program was so screwed up JPO had to bring in a retiring 3 star to help stop the bleeding. BTW: The Majority of these fired, removed and retired Officers now work for Lockheed Martin and solicit the Senate and Congress for continued funding. Yes, the Great Steven Hawkins would find it impossible to define the leading-edge of this JSF/F-22 Black Funding Hole. Here is an idea!!! Let’s not only procure another worthless platform at $150,000,000.00 Dollars Each times 2600 aircraft. In addition we now need a new Afterburning engine on JSF this Stealth Platform. Politics at its best!!! Go Wall Street!!!

Seems that Australia will once again , in common with other USA allies, end up paying dearly for the privelage of supporting USA industry.
No wonder so many wonder why we did not buy Typhoon. We would have it now , wouldnot have needed a bunch of F/A 18F’s and could then have picked up some JSF at a later date if they ever do what they were advertised to do, at the costs we signed up for.
The JSF is another great reason for countries to shop else where,particularly from supplieres who will not supply parts and service only if we dont involve ourselves in anything anwhere without USA approval.


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