Bernie Sanders keeps Vermont press at arms length
By John Walters
On his way out of the St. Johnsbury Academy gymnasium last Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stopped in the hallway and faced the media.
For all of two minutes. He answered three short questions and hustled on to his next engagement.
Little did I know that this would be my one and only opportunity to ask Sanders a question. I attended five Sanders events in four Vermont towns last week without ever getting another chance.
But that’s just par for the course.
Sanders rarely interacts with Vermont news media. He’s a constant presence in national newspapers and on cable news — the very “corporate media” he rails against at every opportunity — but not in this state’s media, most of it locally owned. I guess if you’re looking for the biggest possible audience, well, principle be damned.
Pentagon buries evidence of $125 Billion in Bureaucratic waste
By Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward
December 5, 2016
The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.
Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.
MacKay laments not buying F-35s
By Stephanie Levitz
June 13th, 2016
Buying a fighter jet that’s different from the one used by Canada’s closest allies risks disconnecting the country from the global alliances it needs the most, a former Conservative defence minister said Monday.
Peter MacKay told a Senate committee that in his mind, there’s no question the Lockheed-Martin F-35 is the right plane for Canada — from defending the Far North to helping to confront the threat of terrorism around the world.
MacKay’s government tried to purchase that very plane but questions about its costs and capabilities forced a halt to the process — something MacKay said he regrets.
“I’m very much lamenting some of the to-ing and fro-ing that’s going on currently over the purchase of fighter aircraft,” he said.
Noise information delayed
BY MORGAN TRUE
DEC. 10, 2015
City officials, the Vermont Air National Guard and the Burlington International Airport are making progress toward a joint noise mitigation commission that would include representatives from other affected communities.
Newly released noise exposure maps show more than 2,200 people fall into the area negatively impacted by excessive noise from the airport and the F-16 fighter jets now in use. The maps don’t account for louder F-35 fighter jets that are expected to be based at the airport in 2020.
Lockheed Martin to get $3 billion from F-35 sale to Denmark
By Peter Levring
Denmark’s government plans to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets with Lockheed Martin planes in an order worth 20 billion kroner ($3 billion).
The minority government of Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, which still needs parliamentary approval before the order can be placed, wants to spend the money on 27 F-35 jets to replace old Lockheed Martin F-16s, Defense Minister Peter Christensen and Rasmussen said at a press conference in Copenhagen on Thursday. Boeing had also competed for the deal.
Denmark is revamping its fleet at a time when the “world security map has changed, producing new threats closer to Europe and Denmark,” Rasmussen said, highlighting Russia, the Middle East and Northern Africa as areas for concern.
America’s last fighter jet makers scramble to keep production alive
BY MARCUS WEISGERBER
MAY 12, 2016
In the southwest corner of a mile-long assembly plant here, an F-16 fighter jet is slowly coming to life. That plane, being built for the Iraqi Air Force, is far more sophisticated than the first Falcon to come off this production line more than 40 years ago, but it soon could become one of the last.
To the northeast by 575 miles, a similar scene is playing out inside another manufacturing facility. Here it’s the F-15 Eagle and F/A-18 Super Hornet, two more 1970s relics that have been redesigned and modernized heavily over the decades.
Without more orders by the U.S. military or its allies, production of these three planes, which gave America supremacy of the skies for more than four decades, will halt by 2020.
Decades later, sickness among airmen
By Dave Philipps
June 19, 2016
It was one of the biggest nuclear accidents in history, and the United States wanted it cleaned up quickly and quietly. But if the men getting onto buses were told anything about the Air Force’s plan for them to clean up spilled radioactive material, it was usually, “Don’t worry.”
“There was no talk about radiation or plutonium or anything else,” said Frank B. Thompson, a then 22-year-old trombone player who spent days searching contaminated fields without protective equipment or even a change of clothes. “They told us it was safe, and we were dumb enough, I guess, to believe them.”
F-35 Will Fly Despite Auditor’s Fleet-Grounding Warning
By Patrick Tucker
April 17, 2016
Pentagon officials say the plane can fly without the aircraft’s enormously complex diagnostics system.
Problems with the Joint Strike Fighter’s logistics software will not keep the F-35 fleet from flying, the Pentagon says, contrary to a new Government Accountability Office, or GAO, report that hinted at a possible grounding.
In the April 14 report, GAO officials say problems with one of the jet fighter’s software suites are so severe that “it could take the entire F-35 fleet offline” if there was a failure, in part because there’s no backup to the system.
DOD F-35 program office, breaking the law
By Eric Palmer
April 18, 2016
The U.S. Government Account Office has released two reports on the troubled F-35 program.
One on the program and “new capabilities”. Another, on the F-35s faulty total logistics management system called ALIS.
The one on ALIS has no surprises. The problems have been ongoing for years and, it was years ago that fixes were promised.
The other report? Billions needed to work on Block 4 of the F-35. The problem with this is it is blue-sky marketing. The F-35 program is still in DOD procurement milestone B. That is, after all these years: early development. The primary goal of the F-35 program currently in its system design and demonstration (SDD) stage is to show a fully functional Block 3 capability. Key word: ‘demonstration.’
Flying Public Relations Blitz? Pentagon Finds Only Good Use for F-35
March 26, 2016
With its reputation effectively flown through the mud, the F-35 will seek public approval by performing alongside WWII fighters in an air show tour.
With a price tag of over $1 trillion, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been riddled with problems that include everything from cybersecurity issues to basic flight capabilities.
“[The F-35] has already been in development for more than twenty years,” reads a report conducted by the non-profit Project on Government Oversight. “The plane is still years away from being capable of providing any real contribution to the [US] national defense if, in fact, it ever will be.”