“This modernization effort is like a new program with estimated costs of about $3 billion over the next six years,” Michael Sullivan, director of acquisition and sourcing management issues at GAO, told the House Armed Services Committee on March 23. “That price alone would qualify it as a major defense acquisition program in it own right and it should be managed as such.”
Not only would the F-35 take off from land bases like most conventional fighters do—it would also be able to launch from aircraft carriers and lift off vertically from smaller assault ships.
To do all these things today, the Pentagon possesses no fewer than eight different types of fighters. Dogfighting F-15s and F-16s. Hard-hitting A-10 ground-attack planes. Several kinds of carrier-launched F/A-18s. Vertical-takeoff Harriers. Continue reading
NEARLY 400 council jobs across Worcestershire are going to be privatised in a £38 million deal.
Worcestershire County Council’s Conservative leadership has today agreed that an array of school support jobs can be handed to Babcock International from October.
The jobs, known at County Hall as ‘Learning and Achievement’, offer a vast array of advice and help to schools including everything from school admissions, post-16 education, teacher training and educational psychology.
Something very similar is true of America’s sprawling defense apparatus. The Pentagon, with its $585 billion budget and millions of contractors, are a huge part of why northern Virginia has the richest counties in the nation. Add to that the tangled complex of intelligence agencies (so ludicrously over-classified that even their topline budget numbers are secret, though the total came to $53 billion in 2012) whose lawless incompetence does not even slightly diminish their enormous political clout, and you’ve got a force to be reckoned with.
The US’s military procurement machine may be the single most successful system of wealth transfer ever devised – moving tens of billions of dollars every year from ordinary taxpayers into the pockets of big defense contractors and their allies in Congress. But as a provider of working equipment to defend the United States against realistic threats, it is becoming more and more dysfunctional with every passing year.
“It’s a long war, unfortunately. But it’s been a war that has been in existence for millennia, at the same time—the use of violence for political purposes against noncombatants by either a state actor or a subnational group.
Terrorism has taken many forms over the years. What is more challenging now is, again, the technology that is available to terrorists, the great devastation that can be created by even a handful of folks, and also mass communication that just proliferates all of this activity and incitement and encouragement. So you have an environment now that’s very conducive to that type of propaganda and recruitment efforts, as well as the ability to get materials that are going to kill people. And so this is going to be something, I think, that we’re always going to have to be vigilant about. There is evil in the world and some people just want to kill for the sake of killing…This is something that, whether it’s from this group right now or another group, I think the ability to cause damage and violence and kill will be with us for many years to come.”
Micah Zenko summarised Brennan’s whole speech:
To summarize, the war on terrorism is working, compared to inaction or other policies. But, the American people should expect it to continue for millennia, or as long as lethal technologies and mass communication remain available to evil people.
Physicians for Social Responsibility’s (PRS) study concluds that the death toll from 10 years of the “War on Terror” since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as 2 million.
It is heavily critical of the figure most widely cited by mainstream media as authoritative, namely, the Iraq Body Count (IBC) estimate of 110,000 dead. According to the PSR study, the much-disputed Lancet study that estimated 655,000 Iraq deaths up to 2006 (and over a million until today by extrapolation) was likely to be far more accurate than IBC’s figures.
total deaths from Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 1990s – from direct killings and the longer-term impact of war-imposed deprivation – likely constitute around 4 million (2 million in Iraq from 1991-2003, plus 2 million from the “war on terror”), and could be as high as 6-8 million people when accounting for higher avoidable death estimates in Afghanistan.