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CSIS Aircraft Study 2008

CSIS Aircraft Study 2008

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Published by: Steeljaw Scribe on Oct 07, 2008
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Becoming Your Own Peer Threat
Working Draft
Anthony H. CordesmanArleigh A. Burke Chair in StrategyAnd Hans Ulrich Kaeser
Cordesman & Kaeser: Becoming Your Own Peer Threat 10/1/08 Page ii
 No military service currently demonstrates that it has leaders that can create affordable procurement programs. Every service has, to some extent, mortgaged its future by failingto contain equipment costs, and by trading existing equipment and force elements for developing new system that it may never be able to procure in the numbers planned.Instead of rigorous leadership at the level of Secretary and Chief of Staff, there is an ill-concealed struggle to solve the problems in a failed procurement system by either raisingthe defense budget or somehow getting more funding at the expense of other services and
 programs. The US defense procurement system has effectively become a liar‘s contest in
terms of projected costs, risk, performance, and delivery schedules. Effective leadershipis lacking in any of these areas. In both shipbuilding and military aircraft manufacturing,the services have become their own peer threats. This point is also illustrated in two other Burke Chair reports:
 A Poisoned Chalice?
 Abandon Ships
, available athttp://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/080822_naval_equipment_acquisition.pdf . Almost every major aircraft development program is in so much trouble that thereplacements are stuck in a morass of procurement and development problems, costexplosions, and rifts within the Department of Defense. Fifth-generation tactical aircraftare affected by significant delays and cost increases. The F-22 has almost tripled in unitcost, and comes at roughly $200 million apiece. Meanwhile, the planned procurementquantity has been reduced from 750 to 183. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter faces a similar fate, and may not be ready in time to replace aging legacy fighters, tearing a fighter gapin the Air Force
and N
avy‘s inventories.
The strategic capabilities are not less affected by these problems. The B-2B program escalated in cost by a factor of at least 300 percent, and was reduced to roughly one fifth of its original force goal. Finally, a programto replace the almost 50-year old air refueling tanker is stuck in a political tug of war caused by the Air Force
s mismanagement of the program. Meanwhile, maintenancecosts to keep the legacy fleet operational are increasing rapidly.There now are far fewer program alternatives if any key program runs into trouble, failedmethods of cost analysis are still in play without adequate cost-risk analysis or use of 
regression analysis, and the pressure to ―sell‖ programs by understating cost and risk 
have all combined to push air modernization to the crisis point. Current plans for aircraftmodernization are not affordable unless aircraft costs are sharply reduced, deliveries aredelayed years longer than planned, or funding shifts to lower cost variants or upgrades of older types. The only alternative is a major increase in real defense spending.This report examines the tactical, strategic, and enabling capabilities of US air power. Itcompiles the most recent government data and news reports to reveal the state of current
Cordesman & Kaeser: Becoming Your Own Peer Threat 10/1/08 Page iii
iiistrategic air power and point to the challenges the next administration will face for futureforce planning and budgeting.

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