Monday, June 22, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

The political war over the F-22 is heating up. From the Air Force Association’s Daily Report:

Gates Has a Big Problem: Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he has "a big problem" with the House Armed Services Committee addition of 12 F-22 Raptors to the 2010 defense budget. He told reporters at the Pentagon June 18 that the reason is "because it continues the F-22 program, which is contrary to the recommendations I made to the President." However, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), who as chairman of the committee's air and land forces panel put forth the additional Raptors, says we need them to provide "breathing room" to keep F-22 production going while debate continues on national strategy as the Pentagon works through the Quadrennial Defense Review. For Gates that debate is obviously over. In a direct slap at the professional opinion expressed recently by Air Combat Command boss Gen. John Corley that the current national military strategy requires more than 187 F-22 fighters, Gates told the reporters: "Frankly, to be blunt about it, the notion that not buying 60 more F-22s imperils the national security of the United States I find completely nonsense." With that statement, Gates not only derides Corley's judgment but also that of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, who has acknowledged the fiscal constraints that make a smaller F-22 force necessary, but who has stated publicly that the current military requirement is for 243 Raptors. Asked when he would recommend a presidential veto, Gates said, "I'm not going to go that far at this point." Abercrombie, however, meeting with reporters, openly ridiculed the notion of a veto, claiming that President Obama would be uncharacteristically foolhardy to veto a defense bill over the issue of a few airplanes. Abercrombie added that, in any event, a veto would be met in a flash with an override by huge supermajorities in each chamber. (Gates press briefing transcript)

Corley's Rationale: In making his unvarnished military assessment of the high risk he sees in halting F-22 production at 187 aircraft, Air Combat Command boss Gen. John Corley upheld his sworn duty to Congress to "provide his unbiased opinion on all matters of military importance," according to a June 19 statement from ACC. It's important to note, too, that in Corley's written response to a direct request from Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) about the F-22 risk factor, Corley noted that USAF leaders had asked for and received ACC views, but he also acknowledged that they and DOD leaders were faced with "tough choices … in balancing current warfighting needs against fiscal realities." That, in our view, shows integrity. Among the factors, ACC says Corley used in making his assessment were the need for homeland defense, combatant commanders' requirements, opposing air and ground threats, ongoing reductions in fighter force structure, and the rapidly aging fighter force—all part and parcel of the Defense Strategy Force Planning Construct. For Defense Secretary Robert Gates to dismiss Corley's assessment as "nonsense" is nonsensical.

Between Proverbial Rock and a Hard Place: Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz issued a joint statement last week, acknowledging that they had considered the views of Gen. John Corley, who leads Air Combat Command, on the F-22 risk factor (see above and here High Risk). The bottom line, as they have said before, is that other needs trumped continuing F-22 production beyond 187 aircraft when they had to work within a fixed budget. They said: "We assessed the F-22 by taking into account competing strategic priorities and complementary programs within the context of available resources. After carefully considering a full range of views and alternatives, including those expressed by General Corley, we recommended to Secretary Gates that other priority Air Force programs should not be reduced in order to fund additional F-22s beyond the program of record." That, in our view, is an honest presentation of the situation and in no way denigrates Corley's military expertise.

We tend to go on about the F-22 quite a bit here at EIP.


Update from Saturday: We decided on a computer, Gentle Reader, and we should have a new Gateway LX 6810-01 in our hot lil hands by the end of the week. One of the more interesting things about computer shopping is reading all the customer reviews. Someone always gets a lemon and they are NOT shy about telling the world about it… it doesn’t seem to matter what brand or model computer you look at. So… we have our fingers crossed here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington in hopes our previous good luck with computers holds. That luck has been substantial, too. We’ve bought every single one of our computers over these inter-tubes, with the exception of our first two. And the only reason we didn’t buy those online is online shopping didn’t… ummm… exist at the time.

Speaking of our first computer… it was one of these. I bought my XT in early 1986, and it was the model that did NOT come with a hard drive; it had two 5.25” floppies. I bought a 10 megabyte… yes, MEGAbyte… Seagate hard drive from a mail order firm and installed it myself. The drive only cost about 300 Yankee Dollars, if I recall correctly. The XT itself was about $1500.00, if memory serves. As far as connectivity went, I had a 9600 bps outboard modem to access BBSes and the like. You cannot imagine how impressed I was when I upgraded to a 19.2 Kbps modem. Oh, the power and the glory!

We’ve come a long way, Bay-bee. But ya know what? I miss those clickety old IBM keyboards. Those things were built to last, in addition to having the best feel of any keyboard I've ever used. They were heavy enough to have made damned good weapons, too... and I'm sure someone, somewhere, beat the snot out of another person using one. I wouldn't take odds on anyone surviving a determined attack with that keyboard.


  1. That 1986 model... I remember spending hours and hours playing Leisure Suit Larry and that stupid Star Trek Game.

    And having a Boot Disk. Wordstar. Yikes!

  2. Oh man, the 8088 machines. No hard drive but we thought we were king of all we surveyed having one in the house.

    Now I get cranked when my laptop fails to perform as desired. The fact that it's 5 years old makes it a dinosaur and I should treat this elder with more respect I suppose.

  3. Yeha, a new computer! It reminds me of a story. Toby's trash company bought new computers in the early 90's and Houston sent THREE guys to Taos to install them - as if Toby could not do it on his own. Of course the guys shipped the computers from Houston. Then the guys arrived in Taos a few days before the computers. Toby said they were nerds and one of them drank Diet Coke constantly. When the computers finally arrived, Toby was tired of the three "clowns." As they unpacked the computers it turns out that something sticky had been spilled on the computers while being packed and ruined the keyboards. It was Diet Coke. Toby was hot. I have another story about these same guys, but I will save it for another day.

  4. Hope the brown truck of happiness brings your new toy in a speedy fashion!

  5. Buck, you trying to bait me into a comment and discussion by using the F-22 while I am in "Exile" in Abu Dhabi??? Well, it won't work this time!!

    My comments are about the computer business, I build all my own computers except for the laptops (which I consider to be 'consumable'). I have built my own machines going way back to the first kit machines that only had lights on them, no displays or keyboards. Those were fun. I just built one to be used as a home video surveillance server that a neighbor and I are setting up, to be used between the two houses. We have a problem with too many teenage males with too little to do and no imagination and too little police patrols so, we are going to watch each others backs so to say using wireless cameras and wireless network between us. Should be fun, but back on to topic, the PC I built would easily be considered a 'smoker' packed with large hard drive (1Tb), more RAM than that first hard drive you speak of and a video card to cover watching 8 video feeds at the same time. All for less than $400 of what you call 'Yankee dollars'. Course it all comes off the internet and if you are smart one can avoid shipping charges as well!!!

    It's also a good thing that it is now that you are buying that Gateway, a few years ago I and several million other politically savvy PC consumers were having nothing to do with Gateway due mainly because of a certain Congressman or Senator from South Dakota. Upset we were with said politician liberal leanings and were taking our angst out on the good folks of his state. Thereby to help them in bringing 'Change'. I don't know if it worked but the guy is no longer in office.

    BT: Jimmy T sends (from the UAE)

  6. Darryl sez: And having a Boot Disk. Wordstar. Yikes!

    I was a Volkswriter guy... until I switched over to Word for DOS. :D

    Kris sez: The fact that it's 5 years old makes it a dinosaur and I should treat this elder with more respect I suppose.

    And LOTS of TLC, too. Five years is a LONG time for any computer...

    Lou: I'm thinking those three guys knew a good boondoggle when they saw one. Great story.

    Jenny: I'm semi-amazed... I got the shipping notice last night, and it should be here Friday.

    Jimmy: You be careful out there! And thanks again for your stories... I LOVE 'em! (BTW... I'm not sure Gateway is in SD any longer. Acer bought 'em a couple of years back.)


Just be polite... that's all I ask.