Foreign and Defense Policy, Defense

The case for the F-35

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Today, Tom Donnelly and I published Mass and Supremacy, which makes the comprehensive case for the F-35. In the paper, we present a series of arguments for increased and sustained funding for the F-35 “Lightning II” Joint Strike Fighter. We also argue that the program is the key index of weapons modernization for US forces for the coming decade, and that, because of this, the program will also be a reliable indicator of American commitment to maintain global military preeminence.

Both mass and supremacy—two concepts at the core of the F-35 program—are necessary to ensuring the superiority of American air power in the future. We argue that continued funding for the F-35 program is essential to ensuring American military preeminence for four central reasons:

  • The international nature of the effort to develop, construct, and maintain the F-35 builds the capacity of America’s allies to assist the United States in addressing future threats or countering them independently;
  • The F-35 is the only currently available aircraft that will allow the United States to counter the anti-access and area-denial technology of potential enemies;
  • The F-35 is a foundational element of future concepts of operation for the US Marine Corps;
  • The program is a bellwether of the US commitment to needed military modernization.

Read the full report here.


8 thoughts on “The case for the F-35

  1. Here’s where this site demonstrates it’s utter mendacity. While screaming for “cuts” in “government” spending, it now cheerleads for this piece of equipment with this rationale:

    “We also argue that the program is the key index of weapons modernization for US forces for the coming decade, and that, because of this, the program will also be a reliable indicator of American commitment to maintain global military preeminence.”

    In other words, JUST TO SEND A SIGNAL TO THE WORLD THAT WE’RE REALLY SERIOUS about blowing every dollar we can to puff ourselves up, even though no other fighter jet in existence or planned can even come close to the capabilities of the planes we ALREADY have in service, we REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need to do this. We gotta show ‘em.

    We already look like a dying empire. Do you think blowing out our budget even more at everyone’s expense really makes us “stronger?”

    Pure folly.

  2. The F-35 is too expensive and too vulnerable to advances in technology to be anything but a huge white elephant. Given the position that the US is in, there is no way to justify spending so much money on something that adds so little real value to the defense of the nation.

  3. The F-35 is badly needed to replace a fighter fleet that averages 25+ years old! The F-35 program has big numbers in quantity and cost because it’s replacing so many different jets with it’s 3 versions. It’s stealth capabilities are significant improvements over what the current A-8, A-10, F-16 & F-18 have which will lead to major advantages over current SAM and air-to-air threats from Russian and Chinese made systems.

    • Mr. Planck may be a fool but he is correct about how unlikely it is that the GOP will be serious about reducing spending. Right now defense related spending almost equals the revenue that comes in from income taxes. Yet we have AEI and GOP mouthpieces calling for more goodies for the arms manufacturers and higher burdens for taxpayers. What the US needs are people who are serious about making real cuts.

      • Here, here. And the military is the EASIEST place to do it, without even compromising either defense or detterence. Too many pig’s noses in this trough.

        Reminds me of an old episode. Years ago, there was a major pare down of military bases, and of course, these are cash cows for local economies. One of the most liberal Congressmen EVER to serve, Ron Dellums, complained that his state, California, was being hit the hardest, which was true.

        Unfortunately, these bases were a legacy of WWII, and we put the bases there because we kinda thought that’s where the enemy would be attacking us.

        No doubt losing a base is like losing a factory, but eventually, they have to transition out of it

        • There is no way that the US taxpayer can afford to see almost all of the revenue from income taxes going to defense related spending without turning on those in Congress who keep feeding the beast. If the GOP wants to see serious cuts in SS and Medicare it will have to start by admitting that spending more on the military than the next 40 countries combined is very unwise.

    • Unbelievable. You just believe these scholarly “studies” put out, and everything just fits in for you, doesn’t it? No need to question anything. The website says so, so it must be true, and it’s one that always tells you the truth, no matter what.

      Strive for a greater level of intellectual curiosity and cynicism. The people who publish these pieces have little interest in our military capability, but someone else’s gain from leveraging the fear that comes from assuming the lack of it.

      By their own admission, the project has already been a wasteful boondoggle riven with overruns, but hey, it’s a jet fighter. It’s all right.

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