Thursday, August 8, 2013

Gen. Mattis Joins Board of General Dynamics

James Mattis, retired USMC General, has joined the board of General Dynamics (GD).

I’ve talked about this before.  This is a direct, though delayed, conflict of interest.  Do you really think Gen. Mattis was capable of applying the necessary pressure and criticism to GD while he was serving, knowing that it might affect his chances of serving on the GD board?

You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

11 comments:

  1. The cycle will continue in every branch of the military it seems. Really sad and frustrating.

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  2. The only way to fix it is to ban former militaries from the defense industry for life and lose the benefit of their experience.

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    1. Which is worse, to lose their experience or to lose their independence and objectivity while they're actively serving? We can always find experienced people - heck, the Navy has 350 or so admirals who theoretically have a wealth of experience.

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  3. Here is another example of where retired military, defense contractors and the media get together. This article interviews retired Admiral Roughead about the need for an advanced UCLASS vehicle yet fails to mention that Roughead now works for Northrop Grumman a company that makes the present UNCLASS

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/reduced-capability-leaves-uclass-vulnerable-to-budget-axe-389305/

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    1. DJF, nice article. Thanks for the link. What is UNCLASS? I'm unfamiliar with that abbreviation.

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    2. DJF, the article you linked to offers descriptions of reduced UCLASS requirements but, to the best of my knowledge, no formal UCLASS requirements have been released publicly. Do you know of a source that can confirm the requirements?

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    3. Sorry about the spelling, I should have put UCLAS not UNCLASS

      And no I don’t know formal UCLASS requirements are. What I understand is that it all started as a experimental program which has morphed back and forth between a simple system or a advanced system. Admiral Roughhead seem to have wanted a advanced system for the beginning but I suspect that would have been trying to go from 0-100 in one step and that usually ends in disaster. Usually the only way you can go from 0-100 in one step is if you step off a cliff and are heading strait down.

      The LCS is an example of taking an experimental program and morphing it into a production system without waiting for the experiment to get results

      Personally I think they should have experimented with something like the T-45 carrier training aircraft. It was already carrier qualified and there is lots of experience with its flight characteristics and maintenance. They could have put all their effort into developing the computer operating system and would not have to have wasted time getting the vehicle flying. By now they could have gotten through all the testing and even done fleet maneuvers with it giving them a good base of information to develop an operational aircraft

      But then again I like the step by step approach, building on already existing success and limiting experiments to one question at a time. Its not as dramatic as trying to do everything at once but it seem to be more successful in the long run.

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    4. An RFP for UCLASS was released earlier this summer. My initial impression that the scope of the original concept has been severely reduced is confirmed by the article.

      This is not good. Over the next two decades, the survivability of manned aircraft over a highly-contested land battlefield will come increasingly into question, and the evolutionary development of unmanned strike aircraft will become increasingly more important.

      This will be an expensive and time consuming proposition, especially the artificial intelligence development efforts, but it has to be done if airpower is to maintain its long-term value as a national strategic asset.

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    5. Scott, you are undoubtedly aware that the historical record for surface to air missile effectiveness is pretty poor - on the order of 1% to, perhaps, 20%, at best, per launch. There is no reason to believe that will change significantly in the future. You may argue that missiles and radars are getting better but then you have to allow the opposite side, that countermeasures, stealth, jamming, anti-radar missiles, etc., are also getting better. In fact, an argument can be made that SAM effectiveness will decrease in the future. The point is that we are just speculating - there is no evidence one way or the other to assert that survivability of manned aircraft will decrease.

      Even if survivability decreases, it will decrease for UAVs, as well. As UAVs get more expensive, their rationale for use will decrease (other than the saving of pilots lives which is a huge benefit!). No one knows the costs but, presumably, a UCLASS that has performance specs that approximate (or beat) a JSF will cost around what a JSF costs. If so, there's no real advantage to the UCLASS (other than the pilot's life, again!).

      I'm quite dubious that UAVs are going to be the magic panacea that we all believe.

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    6. I'll copy both posts into the latest UCLASS thread and go on from there.

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  4. I just lost a lot of admiration I had for The Warrior Monk. I wonder why he didn't go work for a think tank or academia?

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