If Diversity is Good and a Backup Plan is Prudent, how About the Same for the Joint Strike Fighter?

Posted: October 15, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

F-35 Glamor Shot

When an NFL team lacks a quality backup at any position, but especially at the critical positions (and most of all at quarterback), coaching staffs and front offices are viewed as negligent.  Injuries and unexpected events are merely a part of normal ops.

College counselors tell their student-clients to have a backup or “safety” school in case their “reach” school ends up being too far of a reach.

So why isn’t this type of thinking reflected in the administration regarding the proposed second engine for the Joint Strike Fighter?  Many already think a second engine is important, including almost a half-dozen retired general officers from the fighter world.  Do those guys work for General Electric/Rolls Royce?  I have no idea, but they did see first-hand what having only one engine did when the F-15 and F-16 were coming into USAF operations years ago.

…we flew fighter planes in an age when there was only one engine contractor for those aircraft, and we witnessed firsthand the impact on quality, maintainability, readiness and safety. The engine that was used to propel the F-15s and F-16s had serious flaws that left planes grounded for lengthy periods of time. It was for this reason that the department moved to a dual-source program. Since then, the improvements in quality, performance and cost have been marked.

OK, you say, but what about the costs?

…when it comes to our military’s most significant – and costly – project in modern history, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the president and defense secretary once again have pinned taxpayers in another Washington contradiction by calling on Congress to hand over a 30-year, $100 billion monopoly to a single supplier for the JSF engine program.

That’s not how we would define “competition.”

Historically, competition has resulted in improved value and performance in government acquisition programs.

  1. […] is a second engine competition, showing prudent industrial-base diversity (good for taxpayers) or is it waste (good for the government-academic-industrial complex)?  […]

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