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Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II   (Source: Lockheed Martin)
In addition, USAF Bomber Program Office created to prepare for bomber replacement

The most expensive weapons program on the budget for the U.S. Armed Forces is the F-35 Lightning II program. The fighter jets are plagued with cost overruns and issues that have lead to delays and many fights in Washington. Despite all the turmoil, the first production F-35 Lightning II was delivered to the USAF marking an important milestone in the program.

One of the components of the F-35 program that was killed to save money was the development of an alternate engine for the aircraft. The second engine was being developed by General Electric and Rolls Royce, but he House recently voted to pull funding.

Despite the pulled funding, the secondary engine for the F-35 came up again in The House Armed Services Committee with a new amendment to the 2012 defense authorization bill. The amendment didn't approve any new funding for the second engine, but left the door open for GE and Rolls Royce to continue the development of the second engine at their own expense. GE announced that it would like to continue development of the engine.

The amendment dictates that the Pentagon cannot destroy any data relating to the second engine and to support the continued development. Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon said the development of the second engine at no cost was a "no brainer."

Another amendment was voted down that would have cut the buy of F-35 jets in 2012 from six aircraft to four. The Amendment was withdrawn when it didn't have the votes to pass.

While the second engine for the F-35 is cropping up again in the House, the DoD is also moving forward on its plan to seek a replacement for the aging bomber fleet in the USAF toady.

The DoD has approved a USAF Bomber Program Office that will work to get plans in place for the branch’s next generation bomber. Air Force undersecretary Erin Conaton said, "We've got a general mandate from the Secretary of Defense to go forward with standing up the program office, so we're just at the beginning of that work."

Currently the estimate for the number of bombers needed is 80 to 100. One of the first things that will be done is to set firmer requirements on the number of bombers needed.

Conaton said, "Eighty to 100 is our current best estimate of what we think we'll need, but that estimate will be refined over time as we see the capability and what we think we can afford." She continued, " We don't have a full life-cycle cost [for the bomber] yet. That's the work that'll be done now by the program office as they stand up."

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By youdope on 5/12/2011 12:58:52 PM , Rating: -1
Maybe if the military didn't pay for things like a $1,200 keyboard from the "lowest bidder" that any other consumer can get for $130 we wouldn't have to cut down on our budget.

RE: Poor
By FITCamaro on 5/12/11, Rating: -1
RE: Poor
By nafhan on 5/12/2011 1:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
Have you ever seen those keyboards? Totally worth it. Civilians generally can't even get them. I saw one on eBay once, and bidding got up to $4,000 before the auction was taken down for "national security reasons."

...figured I'd throw that in there as long as we're making up stories. I think my story is more interesting, BTW. :)

RE: Poor
By youdope on 5/12/2011 2:36:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not talking about the keyboard in the plane, that's not even called a keyboard. I was talking about a keyboard that has a ball mouse integrated in it that you use for any common computer that I looked up. I found what the military pays for it and then I went to that company's site and found the keyboard for $130. Little stuff like this will amaze you how much the government could save. The keyboard is simply an example.

RE: Poor
By Scabies on 5/12/2011 1:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
*citation needed

RE: Poor
By nshoe on 5/12/2011 2:02:39 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, if you removed the Department of Defense spending entirely we would still be spending more money than is being taken in.

In fiscal year 2010 the Federal Government spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on our national debt was 78% of the government's tax receipts.

RE: Poor
By FauxNews on 5/12/2011 9:16:57 PM , Rating: 1
Social Security & Medicare are covered by taxes.
Look at your paycheck. They deduct the money for those programs.
ACTUALLY, Social Security is currently running a budget SURPLUS.

Hint: Did your taxes go up when we started two wars, estimated to cost us over $4 TRILLION?

Gee, wonder why the deficit is exploding...
Gee, wonder why teh interest on unfunded things is exploding.

Logically a program that's generating a SURPLUS of money isn't borrowing money - thus incurring interest on debt.

DoD spending goes away and so does all the extra interest on the debt.

RE: Poor
By Alexvrb on 5/12/2011 11:54:19 PM , Rating: 2
I recieved a letter from the Social Security Administration which detailed that by the time I retired, I would draw reduced retirement, due to an inevitable lack of funds. So blow it out your usual hole.

RE: Poor
By Zoomer on 5/13/2011 12:01:57 AM , Rating: 2
Too bad the "surplus" has to be used to pay retirees down the road.

RE: Poor
By TSS on 5/13/2011 7:30:14 PM , Rating: 2,8599,1...

the "surplus" is already beeing used to pay retirees. But what i wonder is what the government defines as "surplus".

So far from what i've been reading online, the "trust fund" is worth $2,6 trillion dollars currently. What that isn't though, is a pile of cash. It's in some form of bonds, and it looks to be government securities. Wikipedia says:
It is instructive to note that the $2.5 Trillion Social Security Trust Fund has value, not as a tangible economic asset, but because it is a claim on behalf of beneficiaries on the goods and services produced by the working population. This claim will be enforced by the United States Government although the precise monetary mechanism of enforcement is yet to be determined.

If i read that right, it says it's a $2,6 trillion dollar obligation, or debt, that the government, and thus the people, owns to social security, or the people paying into social security, which is the people. The 3 options wikipedia has for repaying the funds are lending $2,6 trillion from somebody else, raise taxes, or have the fed inflate it away. Which sure sounds like (national) debt to me.

Officially, social security pays out more then it takes in in 2017. Then they'll need to draw some money out of it but the interest the bonds make will still be enough to cover costs until 2025. After that it'll be drawn upon until it is depleted around 2042.

So basically what will happen is a correction on the federal balance sheet that is unavoidable. $2,6 trillion dollars in debt that's currently off the books will be added to the national debt, and it'll yearly be added under "increased social security expenses". the "interest on the bonds" probably already is on the federal balance sheet, hidden in "interest on national debt". Starting 2025 (or much earlyer, those where pre-crisis projections) social security is pretty much going to be china saying "we won't lend you any more money, pay us back!".

Yknow, maybe that's why both republicans and democrats haven't made any hard proposals on how to reduce social security spending. It's because any proposal would come decades late - the money has already been spent. Current spending shouldn't be called "spending", it should be called, "paying back".

RE: Poor
By nshoe on 5/13/2011 1:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you should actually do a bit of research before you make claims you know nothing about.

When I say that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest payments on the debt was 78% of the government's tax receipts I am including both the Social Security and Medicare taxes in tax receipts.

If DoD spending went away completely - if we simply disbanded the entire military we would still be spending more money than the government is taking in in taxes. We wouldn't even be starting to pay down the debt.

Try actually looking at the Congressional Budget reports sometime - you might learn something.

RE: Poor
By Scabies on 5/13/2011 3:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
Try actually looking at the Congressional Budget reports sometime - you might learn something.

he might? doubtful

RE: Poor
By hughlle on 5/12/2011 2:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
I think he' just making a point. Governemnt agencies, not just in the US, have often been found to be paying out of their arse for something insignificant. I think a UK bunch recently got outed for paying £7 per lightbulb or such from a contractor, when they could be bought in a shop for 50p.

RE: Poor
By DBRfreak on 5/12/2011 2:22:32 PM , Rating: 2
I get the joke about expensive minor parts, but there's a good reason that items for weapons are expensive - they have to be designed around a mountain of regulations.

Say you want to put a black box on a tank. Is your black box designed for lightning strike, electromagnetic interference, electromagnetic environmental effects, dust proof, waterproof, resistant to spores, molds and fungi, galvanic corrosion, metal fatigue, toxic gas release during combustion, etc...

Nothing on a large weapon system is as simple as a stock commercial part from Home Depot. Consequently, it tends to be spendy.

RE: Poor
By eggman on 5/12/2011 3:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
Nor it is mass produced!

RE: Poor
By ARoyalF on 5/12/2011 11:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget salt fog, temp variation, altitude, endurance cycling, and vibration.

Pats small 3ft dia. coil to shaker.....

RE: Poor
By Solandri on 5/12/2011 2:29:39 PM , Rating: 3
That $1200 keyboard isn't 99% profit like you're thinking. The reason it costs $1200 is because the government orders 1000 keyboards, but specifies that they have to comply with a ridiculously long list of specifications. Things you'd never think about requiring from a regular keyboard. Has to work after 30 minutes of immersion in 3 feet of salt water. Must survive -100 to +250 F temps. Continues to function after having 5 pounds of gravel and dirt dropped on it, then shaken upside-down 3 times. Keys must provide 0.1 Newtons of friction when covered with a 0.01 mm layer of 10W-5 motor oil. etc.

The keyboard company gets these specs and the guy in charge of the proposed contract scratches his head. He's pretty sure his keyboards can meet the specs, but the government wants proof before it'll pay him. So he tallies up the cost to actually conduct these tests on a dozen of his keyboards, with an allowance for redesign in case they fail a couple tests.

Total price for all these tests, safety margins, and labor comes out to $1.18 million. Add in the $13 cost per keyboard and you're at $1.193 million. Call it $1.2 million even. Divide it over 1000 keyboards, and you're at $1200 per keyboard.

The government isn't being ripped off by these $1200 keyboards and $800 hammers. They're getting exactly what they requested; they're just a lot more (a whole lot more) specific about what they request than the typical buyer. (To be fair, the military operates on the assumption that if a keyboard breaks in combat, you're not going to be able to run down to Staples and pick up another one for $13. That keyboard has to work, period.)

RE: Poor
By youdope on 5/12/2011 2:39:33 PM , Rating: 2
The keyboard broke from being typed on too much. It's just an ordinary keyboard.

RE: Poor
By Manch on 5/12/2011 2:57:21 PM , Rating: 2
link please

RE: Poor
By youdope on 5/12/2011 2:53:58 PM , Rating: 2

It looks like this one. I would of rather used this one anyways since the miilitary mandatory keyboard breaks all the time.

RE: Poor
By eggman on 5/12/2011 3:18:39 PM , Rating: 2
Who told you the $1200 price?

RE: Poor
By youdope on 5/13/2011 6:41:41 AM , Rating: 2
the spending account when it was reduced by 1200

RE: Poor
By eggman on 5/13/2011 10:24:45 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe they purchase in lots to get better pricing.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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