How to tell who the Faux Military Reform Players are and the name of the ‘Show’… Since they won’t give you the REAL program.
Usually, the legionnaires of F-16.net manning their remote keyboard outposts around the globe have the ‘latest and greatest already posted’ before I’m even awake, and I need go no further to find a trailhead for the day’s trek through F-35 Newsdom. Sometimes though, I’ll just ‘Google’ “F-35 News”. Early
'Serious' (Just not when
it comes to "Defense")
James Fallows has a long, excellent essay in this month's Atlantic….That is our first clue….that Brad doesn’t have one.
I say Brad’s title was “overwrought” because, to quote ‘Brad’, “Fallows estimates that taxpayers could end up losing 100 times as much money on the F-35 as they did on Solyndra”. Annnnd…to quote Brad quoting Fallows:
Total cost overruns, losses through fraud, and other damage to the taxpayer from the F-35 project are perhaps 100 times that great, yet the "Solyndra scandal" is known to probably 100 times as many people as the travails of the F-35.Setting aside unsupported allegations of ‘fraud’, in what reality do “estimates” and “perhaps” translate into a definitive statement of fact, ESPECIALLY when drooled out of Fallows' pie-hole? To be fair, ‘Brad’ probably had an editor write the title – writers often suffer the editor's imprimatur. If so, then Brad’s editor is a worthless producer of Bulls***. Brad is a worthless producer of Bulls*** for writing the rest of the worthless ‘article’. From his portfolio of writing, it appears Brad has his own agenda for using Fallows ‘piece’ in his interpretive dance-cum-journalism routine. If so, that makes Brad an “Opportunist” and a “Fellow Traveler”. In the ‘Reformer’ sense he is merely a “Pawn” but he could with time work his way up to "Loyal Babbler" if he minds his manners (more on these characterizations later). But Brad’s electronic effluence is only the quick first stop on this journey.
Next Stop: Fallows’ Epic Cultural Hit PieceFallow’s Atlantic ‘editorial’, where he re-sows some ground in his ‘fallow’ field of left-wing fantasy. This one is ostensibly about an America ‘disconnected’ from its military. He could have titled it ‘An Aging Leftist Regrets His Kind Do Not Enlist’. There’s all kinds of falderal inside the margins. Here’s a short list of Fallows’ most typical foibles that I would feel remiss if I let go by without pointing the reader to them.
1. Fallows expresses a wonderment that the percentage of people who are immediate relations to a (I presume living) veteran has dropped:
Among older Baby Boomers, those born before 1955, at least three-quarters have had an immediate family member—sibling, parent, spouse, child—who served in uniform. Of Americans born since 1980, the Millennials, about one in three is closely related to anyone with military experience.Yeah, Total War for 5 years (1940-45 counting the call-ups in 1940, 0r 1941-1946 counting the time it took to return home – your choice) and an active ‘draft’ that ran right up to the early 70s will artificially raise the average until a few years past those factors fading won’t it? Want to feel more connected to the ‘Military’ Fallows? Move to a Red State. Then shed every silly Fascist urge you may feel a) to champion America’s return to a military ‘draft’ or b) that doing so would be ‘good for America’.
The most curious thing about our four defeats in Fourth Generation War—Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan—is the utter silence in the American officer corps. Defeat in Vietnam bred a generation of military reformers … Today, the landscape is barren. Not a military voice is heard calling for thoughtful, substantive change. Just more money, please.Perhaps the (asserted) utter silence in the ‘officer corps’ is more due to the widespread knowledge that the cockup ain’t with the military Mr. Lind, but with the ‘political class’ of which you and Fallows belong. The political class these days behave as self-annointed Archons of ‘truth’ with presumptive rights to define reality for the rest of us. The ‘Political Class’: the ones that Goldwater-Nichols’ed the military a generation ago. In Lind’s case here, he attempts to obfuscate what has really been occurring since the latest President took office: a retread of the Left’s canned ‘Vietnam’ strategy. That is the one that illustrates there is no military ‘Victory!’ the American military can secure that the Political Left will not turn into a political defeat if given the chance.
Full disclosure: There's a lot of Lind's stuff I like (see here). It's just that none of it has to do with 'defense'.
Oh, and Lind’s old meal-ticket Gary Hart (as part of his political rehabilitation?) makes a return from exile in an appearance later in Fallows’ dump.
Lind’s contribution actually seems a little out of place, as much of Fallows’ complaints seem pointed at the politicians and ‘Mericunizm in general. But the cognitive dissonance of lamenting a lack of ‘military reformers’ when ‘political reform’ is what is needed is…. palpable.
Franklin C. 'Chuck' Spinney.
Good with 'Cost', lousy with
Full Disclosure: I have a ‘bias’ when it comes to ‘Cost Analysts’. I do combat and logistics operations analysis (mostly the latter these days). It’s a side gig that I get ‘called in’ on now, but it once was my main job. One of my great professional frustrations has been when I have to closely deal with cost analysts for any length of time. They’re usually good people (like most people) and they do a job I would never want to do. The problem is they seem to rarely have the depth of technical experience needed to understand all the cost drivers they attempt to characterize, and I end up spending an inordinate amount of time every occasion I do deal with them just 1) keeping them for declaring something they’ve done in the past as ‘equivalent’ or 2) getting them to understand a nuance to a cost driver that took me or somebody else years to distill properly. Almost invariably, I’ve found myself presenting and standing behind my technical analysis including the explicit, and clearly-defined caveats, but having to explain some ‘hidden’ or overly abstract cost element on something that the cost analysts accepted and treated as somehow ‘real’ without bothering to caveats. It is almost as if the cost estimates become real dollars in their minds, and it is an affliction that is too often shared by some managers—it’s not a good ‘synergy’ when they get together.
Ricks: Long Time 'Go To'
Guy for getting the 'Reformist'
Propaganda out to the public.
|Winslow Wheeler: CDI |
Ringmaster at POGO
Here is the graphic from the Fallows piece:
|Source: The Atlantic|
This is a fraudulent (intentional or not) mishmash of unsourced (but largely traceable) numbers posing as ‘facts’ that is used in such a cavalier manner by Fallows et al. The acquisition costs are meaningless without knowing the fiscal year dollars involved, and comparing aircraft that do not perform the same mission is folly anyway. This chart is a typical 'fool the innumerate' propaganda that regularly comes out of the Faux Reform camp. The interesting thing to me here is the perverse representation and comparison of operating costs across aircraft types, especially the bit about:
“…the efficient A-10 Warthog has the lowest per-flight-hour cost, because it needs so little maintenance—yet the military plans to phase it out. The F-35, which was supposed to bring new efficiency to plane design, costs five times as much per plane and three times as much preflight hour.”One must presume the target audience has no idea of the differences in the full-up capability between the two airplanes, among many other factors (perhaps a topic for the future?) that make such a comparison ludicrous.I slapped some of this ‘operating cost per flying hour’ horses*** down when Wheeler trotted it out the first time.
The Numbers in the Fallows’ Atlantic ‘Cost’ GraphicNow that we have identified just how widely and frequently this cost ‘scare tactic’ is deployed, let’s return our focus on this specific invocation: Fallows’ using sketchy O&S cost numbers that even if they were ‘correct’ are used in a way designed to mislead the public.
First, the only operating cost data shown above in the Fallow's graphic that we can trace to the same source and characterized in the same way as Wheeler’s 2011 hit piece is the B-2 and the V-22 (Note: The only rational explanation for the V-22 numbers that Fallows uses are if they are for the AF Special Operations Command CV-22s in 2011). The rest of Fallow’s numbers could have been randomly pulled from anywhere EXCEPT ‘an official source’ with the same provenance/ timeframe as what Wheeler used. Here's some of the big stuff missing from Fallow's graphic:
|Dear James Fallows and the Atlantic: Sharing Numbers without Context is NOT DATA|
|Everything except the Kitchen Sink. Well...actually that's in there too.|
Patrick Tucker, who wrote the piece had to reach past all current news, pushing newer well known developments out of the way to retrieve his moldy chunk of information ‘cheese’. From the ‘Reformer POV’ the author would be a ‘Pawn’, and perhaps the Pawn was moved by Fallows, the Atlantic’s Loyal Babbler’?
Update 8PM: Tucker has added an update from the JSFPO:
Joe DellaVedova, Public Affairs Director F-35 Lightning IIJoint Program Office contacted Defense One about this story. He says that while previous versions of ALIS did not allow for a human override, ”this has been corrected in the latest fielded release (ALIS 1.0.3).”Sounds like...
He adds: “ALIS continues to mature per its development roadmap and we currently have it installed aboard the USSWasp today to support of an operational test and evaluation of the F-35B air system which will happen this spring. There is also a more portable, modularized version of the ALIS Standard Operating Unit server for shipboard and expeditionary operations that is currently in final integration and test. This version will support the U.S. Marine Corps initial operating capability later this year.”
Kudos to Mr Tucker for not playing a 'Pawn'.
Why I took the time to lay this all out.
|Indirect (Dotted Lines) Influence on Lawmakers and Strong Parallel Coordination With Fellow Travelers|
|The Old Days: When Reformers had a Toe-hold with the 'Ins' (May they NEVER return)|
Why this took so darned long
|2011 POGO Data: 2006 Spike in Cost for WC-135W|
|Chart added 11 May 15 to illustrate point made concerning estimated F-35 O&S Cost vs F-16 O&S cost trend|