Goodbye F-22 program. We hardly new ye.

KarmaPolice

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Gates readies big cuts in weapons
Battle looms with Congress..

By Bryan Bender
Globe Staff / March 17, 2009

WASHINGTON - As the Bush administration was drawing to a close, Robert M. Gates, whose two years as defense secretary had been devoted to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, felt compelled to warn his successor of a crisis closer to home.

The United States "cannot expect to eliminate national security risks through higher defense budgets, to do everything and buy everything," Gates said. The next defense secretary, he warned, would have to eliminate some costly hardware and invest in new tools for fighting insurgents.

What Gates didn't know was that he would be that successor.

Now, as the only Bush Cabinet member to remain under President Obama, Gates is preparing the most far-reaching changes in the Pentagon's weapons portfolio since the end of the Cold War, according to aides.

Two defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly said Gates will announce up to a half-dozen major weapons cancellations later this month. Candidates include a new Navy destroyer, the Air Force's F-22 fighter jet, and Army ground-combat vehicles, the offi cials said.

More cuts are planned for later this year after a review that could lead to reductions in programs such as aircraft carriers and nuclear arms, the officials said.

As a former CIA director with strong Republican credentials, Gates is prepared to use his credibility to help Obama overcome the expected outcry from conservatives. And after a lifetime in the national security arena, working in eight administrations, the 65-year-old Gates is also ready to counter the defense companies and throngs of retired generals and other lobbyists who are gearing up to protect their pet projects.

"He has earned a great deal of credibility over the past two years, both inside and outside the Pentagon, and now he is prepared to use it to lead the department in a new direction and bring about the changes he believes are necessary to protect the nation's security," said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.

Gates is not the first secretary to try to change military priorities. His predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld, sought to retool the military but succeeded in cancelling only one major project, an Army artillery system.

Former vice president Dick Cheney's efforts as defense chief under the first President Bush, meanwhile, are cited as a case study in the resistance of the military, defense industry, and Capitol Hill. Cheney canceled the Marine Corps' troubled V-22 Osprey aircraft not once, but four times, only to see Congress reverse the decision.

"There are so many people employed in the industry and they are spread across the country," William S. Cohen, former Republican senator from Maine who was Defense secretary in the Clinton administration, said in an interview. "Even though members of Congress may say, 'It's great that you are recommending the termination of X, Y, and Z,' they will also say 'that means 4,000 jobs in my state. Frankly, I can't go along with that.'
 

KarmaPolice

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Major weapons cuts could be an even tougher sell now, he added. "When you start talking about an economy that is in a state of considerable turmoil it becomes even more difficult," Cohen said.

Yet even some of the Pentagon's fiercest critics, such as Winslow Wheeler of the liberal Center for Defense Information, believe the Obama administration may have a unique opportunity with Gates at the helm.

Wheeler, a former Capitol Hill defense aide, noted that Gates has shown a unique toughness, including removing the Army secretary and the civilian and military heads of the Air Force for lapses on their watch.

"That demonstrates there is a spine there," said Wheeler.

Such dramatic moves were easier for Gates because he spent much of his career as an intelligence analyst warning about the threats of Soviet Communism. Now, as a Cold War veteran in an administration perceived to be lacking in defense experience, he is perhaps the only person capable of pushing through big cutbacks.

"He obviously has huge credibility as something of a hawk," said James Shinn, who worked for Gates as assistant Defense secretary in the Bush administration. "No one can even remotely challenge Gates in terms of his well-informed and conservative approach toward threats and the weapon systems associated with threats."

In between briefing books and intelligence assessments, Gates recently read "Agincourt," a novel about the medieval battle in which the British Army routed a much larger French force with a new weapon, the longbow, that was able to penetrate French armor. A turning point in the Hundred Years War, in 1415, the battle could serve as an analogy for the changes Gates believes are necessary to pursue terrorists.

Today's security threats, Gates believes, are far different from when, during his first week on the job as a CIA analyst in 1968, the Soviet Army invaded Czechoslovakia.

"Let's be honest with ourselves," Gates told the National Defense University last September. "The most likely catastrophic threats to our homeland - for example, an American city poisoned or reduced to rubble by a terrorist attack - are more likely to emanate from failed states than from aggressor states."

Gates has said it would be "irresponsible" not to plan for the possibility that another nation could threaten US military dominance, but he pointed out that the US Navy is larger than the next 13 navies combined, 11 of which are American allies.

"US air and sea forces have ample untapped striking power should the need arise to deter or punish aggression - whether on the Korean Peninsula, in the Persian Gulf, or across the Taiwan Strait," he wrote in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs magazine.

As for fears of a resurgent Russia, Gates said, "As someone who used to prepare estimates of Soviet military strength for several presidents, I can say that Russia's conventional military, although vastly improved since its nadir in the late 1990s, remains a shadow of its Soviet predecessor."

Gates's budget plans remain closely guarded, but aides say his decisions will be guided by the time he has spent with soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One aide who has traveled with Gates more than a dozen times said the secretary "is particularly keen and aware of the urgent operational needs on the ground."

That likely means greater investments in intelligence-gathering systems such as pilotless drone aircraft, special-operations forces and equipment, and advanced cultural training for military personnel, aides said.

Girding for a showdown with Congress, Gates took the unusual step of making the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other participants in budget deliberations sign nondisclosure agreements to prevent leaks.

But already lawmakers and defense contractors are preparing to fight back. Lockheed, maker of the F-22 jet, recently launched an ad campaign to protect its fighter. Northrop Grumman, which could face cutbacks to its ship-building programs, has hired consultants to write op-eds. Unions are raising alarms about job losses.

Even his closest friends acknowledge Gates is in the bureacratic fight of his life.

"He is going to have a hard time," said former US national security adviser and retired Air Force Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, who is considered Gates's mentor and speaks to his protoge frequently. "The resistance in the system is heavy. But that what Bob is trying to take on."
 

SIG600

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It's already started on the operational end too. Sonofabitch...... hooray for 5 hour months (if you're lucky).
 

pilotyip

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The new USAF

But think of how many AT-6's, Texan II's attack version, you could purchase for the price of one F-22. Besides there is no threat out there any more, never will be. We will only fly in low threat environments. Better yet lets bring back the P-47, and P-51 and have some real fly flying.
 
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Birdstrike

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Besides there is no threat out there any more, never will be.
Yip, if somebody told me that quote was from you, I'd have never believed it. There's no threat...until there is. Will we be ready?

???
 

RedDogC130

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maybe they can use some of that $$ to get the C-130 back working and speed up the J model and AMP programs.
 

JungleJett

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..is there really enough money to make the AMP mod work right?

I have seen the thing first hand and spoken to the techs..that thing will be nightmarish for the first decade or so.
 

RedDogC130

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..is there really enough money to make the AMP mod work right?

I have seen the thing first hand and spoken to the techs..that thing will be nightmarish for the first decade or so.
I guess that sounds right for any weapon system the AF makes...look at the J model..out in 98 and still fixing the bugs..the AMP should be a real interestng beast since it is old technology with regards to most of the aircraft systems blended with advanced technology based on the 737-800 flight deck...should be a fun transition for some guys/gals
 

lindsaya99

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Are you sure that isn't a typo? How do you cancel a project that is already operational? Park brand new airplanes? Maybe they are talking about the JSF?
 

RedDogC130

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Are you sure that isn't a typo? How do you cancel a project that is already operational? Park brand new airplanes? Maybe they are talking about the JSF?
Well, it is not that they are parking new aircraft..they could stop the money train to produce them...I can see them limiting the number made...if it is so advanced and take on multiple targets at once...blah..blah blah...why need more...not saying I agree, but there are more airframes out there thant need modification and replacement than new advanced fighters...but that is a different fight.
 

Scrapdog

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Are you sure that isn't a typo? How do you cancel a project that is already operational? Park brand new airplanes? Maybe they are talking about the JSF?
Not a typo at all...just like any advanced weapon system you need funding to constantly upgrade the avionics systems, hardware, weapons delivery capes, etc, etc. Not funding the F-22 for future upgrades is essentially putting a fork in it - just like it would be for any major military program that is just starting to really see its strengths come forward.

The F-22 is an exceptional jet that could really be a winner with the proper funding and support. Unfortunately I doubt that will happen with this administration.

And wasn't this thread about the F-22 in the first place? Who said anything about a C-130?
 

joe_pilot

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It's already started on the operational end too. Sonofabitch...... hooray for 5 hour months (if you're lucky).
Welcome to the Carter Administration.
 

RedDogC130

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And wasn't this thread about the F-22 in the first place? Who said anything about a C-130?
Come on man...this would not be a true FI thread without a thread creap....we were talking about $$ dispersement and it could go to aircraft that need some fixing fast...
 

ableone

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Welcome to the Carter Administration.
Have you seen the proposed budget for next year?

Obama requested a sizable increase in the military budget for the next fiscal year. Both the service chiefs and the republican hawks are pleased with the overall numbers.

Don't let the truth get in your way.

It frightens me that you are allowed to vote and drive cars.
 

SIG600

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But think of how many AT-6's, Texan II's attack version, you could purchase for the price of one F-22. Besides there is no threat out there any more, never will be. We will only fly in low threat environments. Better yet lets bring back the P-47, and P-51 and have some real fly flying.
Yeah, because the Chinese F-10 slinging PL-12's is a negligible threat. Or maybe any variant of the SU-30 dragging long burn Alamo's. :rolleyes:
 

dtfl

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Yeah, because the Chinese F-10 slinging PL-12's is a negligible threat. Or maybe any variant of the SU-30 dragging long burn Alamo's. :rolleyes:
True...but he has a point. The majority of the conflicts we have fought or PLANNED in the past 15 years have needed many more CAS assets than Air Superiority assets. Everyone believes their role is the most important, but CAS/SOF/Airlift have been the major players in the recent conflicts.

That being said...we NEED Air superiority.....but not at the cost of other weapons systems.
 

pilotyip

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Being facetious

Yip, if somebody told me that quote was from you, I'd have never believed it. There's no threat...until there is. Will we be ready?

???
I was pretenting I had defected to the "Peace and Love" party that now runs our country. However all that being said the F-22 is almost too expensive to risked in a battle. Even the late Gen Robin Olds thought the F-22 would absorb too much of the USAF budget to the determent of other programs. And as told over a beer he said "25 F-5's, the cost of one F-22, would take out any F-22, or force the F-22 to not fight and give up air superiority"
 

bagasticks

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where will this leave the light greys? are they going to put money back into them?
 

Birdstrike

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There's still, what, 187 in the inventory when all is said and done? I think we'll still be knowing ye for quite a while.
 
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