It is reasonable to contend that our national security and defense are incredibly important concerns.
This is not a video game where you can absorb ten bullets, get a can of soda from the fridge and reboot nonetheworse for wear and tear.
It must be done correctly on a day-to-day and often minute-to-minute basis.
There are some players out there who overwhelm us in sheer numbers or can go toe-to-toe with us in terms of sheer tenacity.
They cannot match our expertise or our hardware, but mind you, they will try and they don't have our best interests at heart.
One of the problems in the defense industry is that when a plane becomes obsolete,
a new plane is proposed and configured on the drawing board.
Then everyone and their dog and their Admiral get to hang bells and whistles and mission requirements onto it.
By this time, it can hover, strafe, dive bomb, deliver pizza and not take off without a rocket assist
nor carry enough fuel for more than nine minutes.
It has all the new technologies (for then) and though it is incredibly expensive, cost per unit will go down after everyone on the planet has one.
By the time it is finished, twenty years later, it is obsolete, slow, 3000% over cost and can't do any of the things that were claimed for it.
It does boast one superlative. It is the most expensive weapons platform in history.
So, suppose, for purposes of speculation, we decide to go toe-to-toe with an
with two billion people and incredible low-cost manufacturing capabilities who is testing us by claiming vast swathes of international waters.
So we get in their face with a huge aircraft carrier and just dare them to twitch.
Of course, our new plane is so expensive, we only have two of them on the aircraft carrier and one of them doesn't seem to be working.
We forge into the waters they are claiming flags a-flying and lo and behold- here come eighty thousand $200 drones
with 20 lb. satchel charges of TNT and sucker pads so they can adhere to the aircraft carrier's hull.
Gee golly. Tom Cruise jump in your bazillion dollar airplane with nine minutes of fuel and shoot them all down!
Picture the outcome.
There are several alternatives.
It is necessary to continue our relentless march into miniturization, drones, remotely piloted vehicles and other intelligent systems.
This is the vision of future technological war.
We are uniquely placed to pursue the cutting edge of this if our priorities are not pre-empted by the desire of the
military-industrial complex to sell multi-billion dollar platforms.
Just like a car manufacturer makes more profit selling SUV's the size of Rhode Island with indoor plumbing versus small fuel-efficient doodle-bugs,
so, too, do defense manufacturers make far more profit selling jet fighters the size of Rhode Island with indoor plumbing.
It is necessary to sacrifice profit for the few for the defense of the many.
Another alternative also exists.
In WWII the DC-3 was the workhorse cargo plane.
It was so robust and durable it could hug the face of the Himalayas flying over the Hump into China.
The Zeros and Mitsubishis couldn't come close because their plywood construction
would cause the winds to dash them to pieces against the mountains.
After the war, they found duty as island freighters, mail planes, you name it.
Their most notorious service was in the drug trade in Jamaica and South America (Remember "Romancing the Stone"?).
Whenever one was captured, it was ferried to Miami where it ws sold.
It was then outfitted with turboprop engines and new avionics and they still see service today shuttling gamblers from Miami to the Bahamas.
In that vein, consider this story.
In 1972 an aircraft as ugly as homemade sin began production. It was called the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
It soon became known as "the Warthog".
To quote Wikipedia:
"Its airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg)
of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems,
enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying.
Its short takeoff and landing capability permits operation from airstrips close to the front lines,
and its simple design enables maintenance with minimal facilities. "
They cost $18,000,000 each. Most of them are still in service.
They have the highest kill rate with the lowest losses of any plane ever produced.
They have destroyed more tanks than any plane ever.
When the Russians were recently building up forces opposite Lithuania, we sent a squadron of Warthogs.
Russians love their tanks. And they hate Warthogs. And Warthogs love tanks.
BBQ'ed, deep-fried, roasted, once over easy. Mmmmm!
So what do the brass do every couple years? Decide to retire them.
Then something comes up and they distinguish themselves.
Some months ago, an ISIS convoy of 192 illegal oil tankers was spotted smuggling oil for ISIS.
A-10's took out the first one and the the last one and then destroyed everything in between. Like fish in a barrel.
So the point is, why doesn't the Pentagon put out a tender to take the old Warthog drawings and modernize the beast.
Nothing works better. No development costs. Upgrade the engines. New avionics.
Make a thousand more. Rule the skies and the ground. Use the savings to provide for Veterans.
(PS They do upgrade them but it's not replacing those that finally wear out.)
Which brings us to the final point.
Veterans have no confidence that their country will repay the price they paid whether in time, stress, limbs or life.
Our Veterans deserve the very best. Period.
Anyone who doesn't provide it or reduces it can be presumed to have retroactively aided and abetted the enemy.
The treatment our Veterans deserve doesn't have to outlined here.
It should be obvious to anyone and if it isn't, they shouldn't be in a position to decide.