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Send In the F-15’s (Opinion)

Exceptional opinion from Pastor Greg Young…

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In the typical action movie, the person playing the president will turn to his chief-of-staff at some point and ask, “Where are our forces?” In today’s world, however, that president should probably just ask “Where are the F-15s?”

Consider the strife in the Middle East, where Turkish forces are attacking Kurds in (or near) Syria. Fox News reports that when Turkey’s troops recently came too close to American warriors stationed there, “Air Force F-15 fighters and Army Apache attack helicopters arrived on the scene.” In other words, the versatile F-15 is now participating in ground support missions, while continuing its primary mission of maintaining air superiority throughout a battle space. That’s a weapon that can really do it all.

Yet, for some reason, the Air Force is being pushed to spend far more for far less.

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National Defense Magazine reported this year that, “The fiscal year 2020 national defense authorization bill approved June 27 by the GOP-controlled Senate would authorize $10 billion to procure 94 F-35 joint strike fighters, 16 more than the Trump administration requested.” Lawmakers seem to be thinking that the JSF can replace the F-15. One problem with that is obvious: the JSF isn’t replacing the F-15 because it isn’t capable of replacing the F-15.

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The problem begins at the beginning, when the JSF was on the drawing board in the 1990s. As Popular Mechanics reported in a lengthy 2016 piece, “The F-35 is still dogged by decisions like the one to build the plane using the strategy of ‘concurrency,’ or building the first planes before the experimental design was truly finalized.” In a way, contractor Lockheed Martin was building the plane as it attempted to fly it.

Because untested jets were pressed into service, test pilots were frequently uncovering problems that had to be fixed on the planes that were already out of the factory. This led to an expensive cycle of delays and recalls. Of course, as all this was happening throughout the ’90s and 2000s, aging F-15s successfully completed tens of thousands of missions, from the Balkans to Iraq and Afghanistan.

From that troubled beginning, things never got much better.

The JSF kept missing deadlines and couldn’t be pressed into service, even as our forces deployed around the world. The platform went over budget year after year. By the time President Donald Trump was getting set to take office in 2017, the Pentagon admitted the JSF was more than 6 years behind schedule and $13 billion over budget. The program, the Air Force admitted, found it “difficult to overcome a troubled past.”

Trump vowed to bring the JSF costs down, but is administration hasn’t managed to do that. “The estimated total price for research and procurement has increased by $22 billion in current dollars adjusted for inflation,” Bloomberg reported this year. “The estimate for operating and supporting the fleet of fighters over more than six decades grew by almost $73 billion to $1.196 trillion.”

Meanwhile, the military can have the more effective F-15 at a more affordable price. The Trump administration wants to buy eight new, next generation F-15X jets. That seems like a sensible hedge as the F-35 struggles to make it into the sky. These F-15s wouldn’t be in place of any of the planned F-35s, but would be in addition to them. As Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson explained this year, “If they chose to have an order on F-15, it won’t be at the expense of F-35 quantities.” Maybe they should be, but time will tell on that issue.

The bottom line is that the entire idea behind the JSF is that it would be able to do it all. Instead, it’s the F-15 that’s getting the job done, in Syria and everywhere else. Let’s have more of that, please.

Pastor Greg Young is host of the nationally syndicated Chosen Generation Radio Show which airs Monday through Friday on Stations coast to coast. He served as a Russian Linguist is the USAF, discover more at chosengenerationradio.com.

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Gretchen Whitmer Takes Heat For Marching With Protesters After Months Of Cracking Down With Social Distancing Orders

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is taking a whole lot of heat after she decided to violate her own lockdown orders in order to march shoulder-to-shoulder with protesters in a march to support George Floyd who was killed at the hands of a law enforcement officer in Minneapolis. Whitmer was photographed participating in the event, sitting side-by-side with activists who were demanding that police brutality be brought to an end. The photograph has angered many residents, along with GOP Rep. Lynn Afendoulis. Here’s more from The Washington Examiner: “Social distancing is critical to stop the spread of COVID-19—unless you have a great photo op. ⁦And control,” Afendoulis tweeted. https://twitter.com/LynnAfendoulis/status/1268623499142279168 Whitmer maintained some of the strictest social distancing guidelines in the nation throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many of which are still in effect — including a mandate to maintain 6 feet of separation in public gatherings. A spokeswoman for Whitmer, Tiffany Brown, denied the governor violated her own social distancing guidelines by attending the protests. “The governor took precautions for engaging in an outdoor activity, including wearing a mask even though it is not required outdoors under the order,” Brown told the Detroit News. She also noted that the order included a provision that said: “Nothing in this order shall be taken to abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution.” Brown went on to add that “includes the right to peaceful protest. The state’s website has a FAQ section that says any protest requires participants to be six feet apart as per the usual social distancing guidelines. “Persons may engage in expressive activities protected by the First Amendment within the State of Michigan but must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the…

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Stacey Abrams Says She’s Not Joined In Protesting So As Not To ‘Distract From Their Message’

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Failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams came out and stated that she’s not joined in the protests happening across her state because she’s afraid her presence will distract from the message being pushed by those who are putting on these events. Abrams, who failed to win the governorship of Georgia, appeared on CNN where she revealed the reason for her absence during an interview. “I appreciate the instinct of leaders to join in these protests, but too often, our presence distracts from their message,” she said. Reports indicate that Abrams is actually on the short list of potential vice president candidates for Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. Abrams did reveal that she’s helping the movement responsible for the protests by helping to secure money for bail and lawyers for those who are arrested. “I understand the instinct to be there. But having been on the other side, having been an activist and a protester, I have a very visceral reaction, and my conscience tells me I need to stay out of the way and let the attention focus on the demonstrators,” Abrams added. Check out more from The Washington Examiner: As a college student, Abrams helped lead protests after Los Angeles police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King, a black construction worker, in 1992. Floyd, an unarmed black man, died last week after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed a knee to his neck for more than nine minutes. Floyd lost consciousness and was later pronounced dead at a hospital. It seems more likely that Abrams is just trying to keep herself out of trouble by not joining in on the protests. However, she’s definitely doing her part to keep the unruly chaos active by bailing out criminals and vandals, so perhaps it’s best she not show up…

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