Tuesday, March 26, 2013

F-35: Wheeler's blustery baseless blast

Sometimes Washington DC's most abundant product is hot air.  In fact, a lot of hot air.  And much of it comes from those whose entire job and background seem to be focused on producing it and not much more.

One such individual is so-called defense critic Winslow Wheeler.  Wheeler's modus operandi can be summarized in one sentence: "If DoD is for it, he's against it".  He couches his criticism in a claimed expertise he doesn't have and does it all in the name of outing wasteful spending.  He further advances the notion that he knows what's best for our nation's security and the "milicrats" - his term - are letting the nation down.

He popped up again this week like a hot air balloon in order to take his usual pot shots at the F-35 program.  Part of his criticism is based on a report we mentioned earlier about pilots who complained about the cockpit visibility on the F-35 and the claim that the hampered visibility would get them "gunned down" every time.

We also pointed out that LTG Bogdan, who heads the program for DoD, reportedly said that any F-35 pilot with that concern could find a new job flying C-12s.  Bogden pointed out that the F-35 has the DAS which gives the pilot unprecedented 360 visibility and essentially makes the headrest complained about invisible.

Well that set Wheeler off.  As is usual in his screeds, you only get part of the story (DAS is never mentioned by Wheeler) which led to this bit of nonsense:
Sure, general, that's just what DOD needs more of: Washington-based bureaucrats talking down to servicemen in the field with the character to express their experience-based concerns about defective equipment. Donald Rumsfeld did the same thing in 2004 when a reservist in Iraq had the gall to suggest that soldiers should not have to scrounge in scrap heaps to improvise "hillbilly armor" to survive in their vehicles in combat. Saying, "You go to war with the Army you have," Rumsfeld told the soldier to suck it up.

Lt. Gen. Bogdan, welcome to your own personal alcove in Donald Rumsfeld's hall of conceit. 
So one of the most advanced pieces of military equipment is the equivalent to "hillbilly armor"? Oh, wait, that's right, Wheeler never mentioned it did he?

By the way, in case you've wondered about "milicrat" LTG Bogdan's qualifications to run the F-35 program, take a peek at his resume.    Then read Wheeler's.  No contest.  The only thing Wheeler has "test piloted" is a pen.

After chastising Bogdan, Wheeler launches attacks against all others who've had the temerity to support the program and report it to be making progress.  If you can't argue against the message, try to smear the messenger.  And, unsurprisingly, that's precisely where Wheeler heads.  His targets are varied but he spends most of his time attempting to smear the GAO so he can claim it's report should be discounted.

In a lengthy and wordy attack, this is the sum of his ramblings:
In short, DOD appears to have an unseen hand in influencing the text of GAO reports, and the management guidance as perceived by the GAO staff is to accept the DOD guidance to reduce as much as possible any areas of disagreement. The differences may only be subtle in a final GAO report, or they could appear in the form of strangely unsubstantiated assertions and conclusions -- the sort of vapid statements that appear in GAO's new F-35 report. 
In short, he has nothing but the usual innuendo, baseless assumptions, bluster and half-truths. The stock and trade of a man well out of his depths.


1 comment:

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