The Pentagon’s $1.5 trillion mistake

ate Friday afternoon, less than a week after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued dire warnings about the pending defense cuts, the Pentagon announced that it had grounded its next generation F-35 fighter because of engine problems. This was the second time in two months the plane has been taken out of service.

Friday afternoon is Washington’s preferred time to release bad news and hope reporters, already thinking about the weekends, will turn a blind eye. But after this latest failure, the problems with the F-35 are simply too numerous to ignore.

Equally impossible to ignore is the $1.5 trillion price tag for one of the biggest failures in Pentagon history. $1.5 trillion is the cost of operating the air craft for 55 years, an amount that has been consistently increased as the program drags on. It’s the most expensive weapons system the Pentagon has ever commissioned. And as problems mount, there are growing concerns that the F-35 will never fly a combat mission.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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