…nearly two-thirds of the fleet’s strike fighters can’t fly – grounded because they’re either undergoing maintenance or simply waiting for parts or their turn the aviation depot backlog.
Long comment below the fold.
Trump has yet to unleash Mattis with funding request to Congress to fix this despite Mattis order to deal first with readiness. This is at least a major “supplemental” problem and how to implement it is also a real difficult problem as the whole inventory of Navy/Marine aircraft will require a massive set of nationally placed mod lines and extensive organization for the logistics & implementation with test flights and certifications. The Main Depots would become once again enormous working facilities along with the manufacturing facility at Boeing to make things happen and I am sure the whole of the international partner world will want to join in and then the new-build platforms will integrate into the configuration standards – it could be an exciting time with 40,000 jobs at stake. Then of course there will be a whole list of much needed upgrades and mods to come on top of the resurrection of the inventory. In all I would guess this would be a $200-300 billion dollar special quarterly supplemental just for Navy & Marine Corps Hornets & could take in a minimum two to three years of witch any delays will stretch things. Now add every other Navy/Marine “type” of platform and things could get moving way before any new military even gets considered.
Now to get going the Military will have to assemble all of its available trained pilots and technicians to man this enormous effort. Getting the bodies to man this is the real elephant in the room – and a total freeze on leaving the services may be required, that is a special DoD order to hold on active duty all resigning/retiring pilots and technicians to fill these special billets in Depot and set aside locations for the tasks at hand and bring in recent departed people who would come back just for these actions so the main force of pilots and technicians could remain with the force. Note that the organizing of a reserve F-35 unit at Carswell sets up Lockheed to build a swap-out program for all the mods and upgrades due for the F-35 program right there are the factory. Boeing’s Hornet House in St Louis should house a joint USN/USMC plus a merge with the international users /Australian/Swiss/Finland/Spain etc joint Reserve unit for similar purposes. After the first supplemental Bill moves into reality the stream of such Bills for all sorts of readiness rebuild programs for all parts of the total force will progress very quickly. We need at least $800 billion (no Shit) to get the total force back into gear with all the necessary kit and spares and there are many things under the right leadership that could be instituted with positive results …. Time to get very serious about defense
Phi Beta Iota: Donald Trump does not need a National Security Advisor who is a sock-puppet for the neo-conservatives who want a war with both Iran and Russia. Trump needs a National Strategy Advisor who can organize a Grand Strategy Summit that covers all threats, all policies, and all costs as a pre-amble to crafting a coherent over-all combination of domestic and foreign policies that make sense and can be achieved within a balanced budget. Trump’s team right now is incomplete and incoherent. It also merits emphasis that the existing military that cannot win wars or project power in any sustainable fashion, is consuming 60% of the disposable budget and 16% of the total budget. Not only does this military budget need to be cut by 30-40% (waste being documented in the military as between 45% in weapons acquisition to 75% in Afghanistan) at the same time that we completely re-design the military so as to have — as Robert Steele has suggested — a 3 million soldier based at home, a long-haul Air Force, and a 450-ship Navy at the same time that we close all overseas bases and cease providing other countries with our Army.