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Comment Re:Turnover across presidential administrations. (Score 1) 319

The Federal Reserve is the only position on the list that routinely succeed presidents.

Since the Nixon administration with exception of George Tenet (who served both the Clinton and Bush Administrations) the CIA directorship has changed hands with every presidency. There is some overlap in the early era, but modern day with each new administration there is a new director at the CIA within the year. NASA is the same way, some overlap, but typically each President appoints their own administrator for NASA.

The FBI there is some directors that served for years, and others that left almost immediately after the new President enters office.

Comment Re:Time for a new job (Score 1) 319

It is customary for all Presidential appointees from the previous administration to submit their resignations to the next President. And are typically are accepted, as the incoming administration often wants to appoint their own men to those positions. Now some are kept until their successor is confirmed by the Senate, but often the civil servant steps in becoming the interim director until the new one is appointed. This may seem inefficient, but typically there is minimal disruption because the civil servants typically are the ones that actually manage the agencies.

There are some exceptions where the old appointees last into the next administration, but those are exceptions.

Submission + - Firearm Lubrication Company Sues Internet Bloggers Over Scientific Testing

An anonymous reader writes: After internet gun blogger Andrew Tuohy saw an internet video saw claims that firearm lubricant Fireclean was identical to common canola oil, he decided to dig deeper in the issue asking a professor to do an infrared Spectroscopy on the two oils. Ultimately teaming up with another blogger, Everett Baker, to do NMR testing. Ultimately coming to the conclusion that Fireclean was virtually identical to Crisco oil at 10 times the price.

Now Fireclean, who've obviously never heard of the Streisand effect, is suing Tuohy and Baker for defamation. Claiming that they've lost $25,000 a month in sales since the articles were published. Touhy is fighting the law suit and has posted a GoFundMe page to fund his defense.

Comment Re:F-35 is a "Little Turd" (Score 3, Informative) 153

I don't feel like watching the video, because based on the Defense Response it is the normal F-35 hachet job by journalists. I've heard the same arguments again and again.

First off the F-35 was never meant to be a primary air supremacy fighter, it was meant to be a multi-role stealth strike thus the deficiencies in ACM are to be expected. It is sacrificing wing area to get an internal weapons bay large enough to fit a 2,000lb JDAM. Something that the F-22 can't do. It also has a much longer range than other fighter aircraft, literally 50% more on internal fuel than the F-16 with drop tanks, and the F-22 on internal fuel.

Second though the specs don't seem impressive compared to the hot rod that is are the F-16, and F-15. But neither of those aircraft are going to reach their max speeds and altitudes with a war load. Those specs were tested with no armaments on the hardpoints and no drop tanks (with exception of the F-16 where wingtip missiles reduce wing flutter). While the F-35 going to be capable of nearly reaching its specs with an actual warload in the aircraft, and that includes super cruise. Granted the specs might be down rated somewhat from the initial contract specs, but that is to be expected as they often don't know the exact weights of all the third party systems to be installed on the aircraft (some were yet to be developed when the contract was written).

Third the expected price of the aircraft is inline with the F-35 competitors, who are all non-stealth aircraft. The F-15SE is brought up as a replacement for the F-35 by some critics, saying it would be cheaper than the F-35. Well the F-15K which has a similar electronics suite as the F-35, cost the ROK $100M each. Compared to the current LRIP production cost of the F-35 at $90-100M each, with the full rate production cost to be in $90M. The Eurofighter cost just short $90M each. So the price for a stealth strike aircraft is actually inline with competitors.

Fourth Canada made another stupid decision with canceling the F-35. They did so without selecting a replacement. The CF-18 nearly at the end of their service lives if they haven't reached it already. And likely will become another Sea King with the replacement used as political football between the ruling parties until if has killed enough aircrews that both parties agree "Perhaps we should actually replace these eh?"

Comment Re:$231 million? (Score 3, Interesting) 139

And used. New wrenches can be much for expensive, particularly if they are made in America.

Also let me illustrate government contracting, yes all the RFQs are posted online. But it isn't like you can bid on it, they typically require so much paperwork that companies that don't normally deal with government contracts either balk at it, or screw something up and their bid is not considered.

More often than not government contracting goes through a handful of distributors who not only know all the paperwork, but are often owned by people that can check off the right boxes on the minority statements.

So even though the government gets a quantity discount, often with all the overhead and additional testing the government requires (like getting a certification from an independent lab or doing NDI on every item delivered) even with a quantity discount it might still be more expensive then buying it at retail.

A good example of this is GE engines, they make the F108 that is used on the KC-135, other than a different name plate it is almost identical to the CFM56s they deliver to civilian customers. The F108s typically cost almost 10% more than the CFM56, and doesn't include the warranty that they give to civilian customers. That is because the USAF slows the line down for inspections and testing, and paperwork lots and lots of paperwork. Thus it costs the USAF 10% more than if they just bought them COTS.

Another good example of the paperwork is that the Lockheed is required to keep all the paperwork from the F-16 program, there is so much paperwork from that program that it has it's own warehouse. Some of that paperwork is almost 50 years old, and Lockheed will probably have to keep it safely stored until the very last F-16 is retired.

Government in it's attempt to control fraud, and waste has ironically caused wasteful increases in costs to prevent the waste and fraud.

Comment Re:Vast Amount of Money? (Score 1) 139

Whee it is fun talk to people that have no idea about aviation.

I never said that it couldn't do air to air. Simply that when the contract was drawn up that stealth strike was their primary concern, as they already had a contract program that concentrated on air to air. As far as the test pilot report, the test pilot knew that the F-35 didn't stand a chance against the F-16 (as the YF-16 was designed to be the best dog fighter in the sky and the F-16 still retains much of that capability), he was just surprised about how quickly it bleed energy with the current version of the flight control laws, and hoped that the updated version (which should be hitting the test articles soon) would help with that.

As far as the rest of your post you are basing it on a report that is over 18 months old. Have you considered that in 18 months that they might have much of those issues fixed? There are still issues remaining with notable ones being, the gun's computer code needs to be completed, the 360 degree sensor system is incomplete, and the flight control laws need to be finalized.

Comment Re:$231 million? (Score 1) 139

Of course you didn't hear it that way because the companies weren't allowed to defend themselves in the media, it didn't fit their narrative, and this was before the internet where you could just lay the facts out there.

There was a special ultra expensive wrench that was often trotted out as an example of Pentagon excess, perhaps you were thinking of that. But that wrench was a special non-spraking wrench designed for working on bombs, which often gets ignored. IIRC it was made out of beryllium cooper.

As far as the toilet seat, often what they are siting was an assembly that included the seat along with the lid which was a pressure fitting for a submarine. It was designed to seal the toilet to prevent a leak in the waste system from flooding the submarine.

Comment Re:Vast Amount of Money? (Score 1) 139

Repeating the same thing won't make it anymore true.

Repeat after me, the F-35 wasn't designed to have air to air combat as a primary requirement. If it was, it would look a lot like the F-22, large wings, small internal weapons bays, and a large engine. Instead it was designed with a large internal weapons bay which eats up the available wing area, and a more moderate engine. No one complained that the F-117 couldn't beat a fly in ACM. Honestly I think if the DOD decided to name it the B-35 or the A-35 it would solve a lot of issues, but it would severely limited the export-ability as the allied nations want multi-role aircraft. And frankly the F-35 isn't a horrible fighter, it just can't hold a candle to the dedicated fighters (like the F-15 and the F-16) built for the fourth generation.

I've mentioned in another comment that stealth aircraft can get wet. Yes encountering rain in flight damages the RAM, but that is considered a cost of doing business, you want a stealth aircraft you have to deal with the replacing the RAM periodically.

As far as the other issues those are normal. They did articles similar to this during the flight testing and IOC phase of the F-22 that resulted in SecDef Gates killing the program over the objections of the US Air Force that it would leave them without enough of front line fighters to do their mission. It is almost like they knew that the F-35 wasn't an air to air fighter, oh wait maybe they did because they read the freaking contract years ago. Heck go back long enough you will see the same complaints about the F-15, and the AIM-120 both programs that once finished were quite capable. And that doesn't mention the flight control issue with the F-16 that was only discovered years after it entered service and killed at least one pilot.

  As far as the cost overruns, that doesn't surprise me. Every new aircraft is more expensive than the last. Add in all the new shit being developed for the F-35, many of which are actually brand new you are going to have overruns.

Comment Re:Vast Amount of Money? (Score 1) 139

Actually the F-35 is on schedule. All the basic flight testing is done and most of the weapon testing, except for the gun (which is scheduled to be operational well before the F-35 gets to FOC), has been done. In fact the F-35B is currently in IOC, which means that the USMC (in the case) is currently having actual Marines maintain the jet to figure out how to maintian the aircraft if needed make modifications based on those experiences.

As far as not beating MIGs, it was never designed to do that. The JSF design heavily favors strike side of the equation, anyone that has actually followed the program should know that. In fact if any so called aviation experts were shocked that the F-35 wasn't as good as other dedicated fighters (which includes the F-16 which was designed originally to be dedicated fighter), they aren't much of an aviation expert. The F-22 was meant to be the dedicated fighter, and F-35 was meant to be primarily for strike missions, the specs and the size of the internal weapons bays make that pretty clear.

As far as ballistic missile defense, the current missile defense strategy isn't designed to prevent MAD. So anyone complaining that it can't handle the Russian ICBMs with multiple decoys and counter measures is attacking the system for a capability it was never meant to have. It was meant to protect against a rogue state like Iran or North Korea launching their not as complex ballistic missiles. Sure their capabilities can increase, but so can the system. We didn't go from primitive airborne rockets to laser guided missiles that have the ability to hit moving targets over night. BMD is no different.

Comment Re:$231 million? (Score 1) 139

This is one of those military half truths that continues unabated, like the $600 hammer.

The B-2 can fly in the rain, because material isn't an strong as aluminum it sustains damage that must be remeditated, but that is just a cost of doing business with the technology. You want a stealth bomber you are going to have to spend extra money maintain the radar absorbent material.

BTW the $600 hammer was actually $435 and was part of a spare parts kits, and when the contractor parceled out the R&D in their accounting system they evenly divided the R&D costs for each item, which came out to $400 each which resulted in a cost of $435 for each hammer.

Comment Re:Only "troubled" if you're not Lockheed Martin (Score 1) 509

Lets see long difficult training pipeline with a high washout rate, and not a huge poll of talent while keep quality high. Lack of buy in by the normal military, so even before contracting there weren't enough SF available. Combined with high rate tempo high risk deployments with high causality rates. Really even without contracting it is unlikely that we would have enough, particularly if we had to dedicate quite a number for PSD missions.

Honestly it isn't perfect, but contracting out the State department's specialty non-direct combat jobs, allowed it the DOD to free up a limited pool of SF soldiers for direct combat roles.

Comment Re:Only "troubled" if you're not Lockheed Martin (Score 1) 509

<quote><p> I was first really shocked about military outsourcing when I saw a photo of L. Paul Bremner III, the proconsul for Iraq, being guarded by a group of Blackwater people.</p><p>How on earth is this justified - forget the question of allegiance and loyalty, outsourcing has got to cost more than using your own troops.</p><p>What happens now seems to be
- USG invests hunderds of thousands or millions of dollars in training for 1334 soldiers and pays them a civil service salary
- Mercenary corp hire them and pays them double their salary
- USG contracts Mercenary corp, and gets its own soldiers back and four times the price and one quarter the loyalty.</p></quote>

<p>The US military isn't really trained for PSD work. Blackwater and other contracting companies takes Special Forces soldiers and trains them specifically for the PSD missions that they do for the state department.</p>

<p>Now the US military could train some of it's soldiers for PSD missions, but they already have a shortage of Special Forces soldiers.</p>

Comment Re:Easiest way to save money (Score 1) 369

We don't have bases in 130+ countries, we have military presence in 156 countries (2002 number), but that can be as small as a team of advisers. We have bases in 63 countries. Some may be unneeded, but many are needed for logistical reasons. For example it's better to fly injured service members to Germany, rather than all the way to the US.

And raising taxes rarely raises revenue, particularly when you do it to the "rich" as they are the ones with the political connections to get exceptions put into the law. On top of that they are more likely to have the ability to use those exceptions to structure their income to avoid those taxes.

Comment Re:Hey! (Score 1) 369

We spend MORE on Social Security every year than we would spend on nuclear weapons in ten years. Add in Medicare, and Medicaid also costs more per a year than our nuclear weapon program would cost in a decade.

It's not a distraction, social programs like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are the larger budget item than defense spending.

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