The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is one of the costliest weapons programs in human history, with each plane costing $90 million and the project taking more than a decade to complete. Since the year 2001, the program has nearly doubled in price tag at an overwhelming $396 billion dollars. When you combine the price tag of the program with Government Accountability Office estimated operating and maintenance costs of the planes– the total cost of the program reaches over $1 trillion.
Thanks to the decade of delays, the technology in the F-35, once thought to be the best of the best, is now outdated. Pentagon officials such as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta are still pressing for nearly 2,500 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to be manufactured. What Panetta didn’t point out is that over the course of the F-35 program, the world has changed. The F-35 is supposed to be the future of U.S. tactical airpower, but the fact is the entire program is a relic of the Cold War. Rather than face the current threats of today, like cyber warfare, we continue to pour billions, and potentially trillions, into the bottomless pits of projects like the F-35.
When dealing with the possibility of facing more than $500 billion in spending cuts, will the federal government take away healthcare away from Americans or will the Pentagon eliminate the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program since it won’t really put a dent in America’s military power anyway? In 2011, the combined profits of the five largest U.S.-based contractors were a staggering $13.4 billion. And, despite going through a recession that devastated both families and business across the country, the defense industry is still making record profits.
Title: The F-35 Folly: How Our Own Fighter Jets Are Killing Us
Author: Thom Hartmann
Source: Truthout, 2/19/13
Student Evaluator: Greg Eckstedt, Sonoma State University
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