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Pentagon Budget



WAIS survives thanks to the generosity of some of its members, and now is the time WAIS calls on all good WAISers to help out with a check to WAIS, a 501(c)3 organization, so donations are tax deductible. From our modest viewpoint, we are dazzled by this discussion of the Pentagon's budget, sent by retired Marine Aviation General Michael Sullivan in response to the statements about the State Department made by Paul Sullivan. While I am busy counting the dimes, I will leave it you to figure out all this Pentagonese written in response to lamentations about the State Department's penury:

"You always have to be careful when using budget numbers because as the old saying goes "Figures can lie and liars can figure" and they can come back to bite you. For example, the Marine Corps has, as percentage of the US military, 17% (173,000) of the personnel, 20% of the ground maneuver battalions, 20% of the of the of the fighter and attack aircraft, 17% of the the attack helos and 33% of the combat service support capability yet recives only $12 Bil of the $292 billion of the FY 2001 Total Obligational Authrity (TOA) or 4% of the entire DOD budget. However, the Navy picks most aviation costs (blue dollars) and, therefore, the Marine Corps looks very cost effective at the Navy's expense. If State is receiving $20 Bil a year it's a lot more than 2% of the Pentagon budget...to be correct it's 6.8%. As a point of interest Marines man, as embassy security guards, 123 Detachments for American embassies/consulates in 110 countries around the world with 36 more opening between now and 2005. Speaking of pay, I'm sure it could be better for the junior staff members at State, but I think every enlisted Marine (almost all embassies/consulates are staffed with only enlisted Marines, with a SNCO being in charge) working with State would gladly trade pay checks with them. Neither State personnel nor military types are doing what they're doing for monetary rewards. They're doing it because they volunteered to serve their country. What motivates them to do this is patriotism, values, love of country, adventure and the opportunity to be out in front representing the US. In my years in the Corps we always said that,if we ever got the dollars or support we asked for, we'd probably screw it up as we're so used to operating on a dime, short-handed and with work-arounds. But somehow we're all better off, and in the end it develops initiative, confidence, pride and leadership.

The JSF is receiving $19 bilion till 2008 for further development and testing. As you know, it was announced Friday that Lockheed won the competition.The other $189 billio will not be authorized until the aircraft passes all its milestones and is approved for full production. The Brits are putting $2 billion into the program and have helped in the designs. Using current cost estimates, we can get four JSFs for the price of one F-22. Why are we buying the F-22? Because it's the USAF's No 1 priority and they will not come off it. Something has got to give. There were going to be some real budget and program cuts at DOD, and I feel a big aviation program or two will be cut or curtailed severely (candidates are F-22, F/A-18 E/F, JSF or the V-22 Osprey). These decisions have been put on hold due to the current war on terrorism, but the decisions must be made soon. If all goes according to plan for the JSF (so far, the JSF development/testing has been nearly flawless and the best of any aircraft to date, and that's pretty good as they have to build a different type of aircraft, because of mission requirements, for the USAF, Navy and Marines), the aviation industry will build nearly 3000. 300 or so F-22s are planned to be built, but I doubt that they'll get that many. The JSF program will keep our aerospace industry viable and prepared to fight the future wars plus corner the market on military tactical aircraft. The JSF (and the F-22, F-18E/F) is probably going to be the last fighter or attack type aircraft built for a long, long time Allies worldwide buy American military aircraft and have expressed interest in the JSF. For many reasons it's preferable for them to buy them from us. The JSF has been designed to be cost effective and far less expensive as compared to today's current operational aircraft and yet superior to them in every way. In 1995 dollars (most current figures I can get) the USAF JSF is a straight conventional aircraft with a price tag of $28 Mil, the Navy's is a carrier-based aircraft and has a price tag of $35 Mil while the Marine JSF is STOVL (short take-off/vertical landing) and comes in at $30 Mil. I'm sure, using today's dollars, the prices will rise some due to inflation. However, prices are coming down in many areas like avionics and aircraft assembly. The nation needs the JSF not only for 21st century capability: it will simplify the hugh and costly aviation supply systems as 70% of the aircraft is common for all three services. We will get a lot more bang for the buck than with the F-22".

Ronald Hilton - 10/28/01


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