Thanks as always to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!
President Trump has saved the taxpayers a bunch of cash by negotiating down the price of the F-35 fighter. Excerpt:
Trump never had any trouble understanding the operational advantages of a supersonic, multi-mission fighter that is invisible to radar. But from day one, he was not happy with the trillion-dollar price-tag attached to the program for buying over 2,000 planes and then keeping them in operation through 2070. Even after it was explained to him that much of that cost was inflation estimates for future years, he still thought the price was way too high.
So he decided to do something about it. In fact, Trump began his campaign to lower the cost of F-35 even before he was inaugurated. In a tweet he wrote on December 12, 2016, the President-elect said “billions of dollars can and will be saved” by pressing contractors for a better deal. Lockheed Martin, the company building the plane, saw its share price plummet 5%, and CEO Marillyn Hewson soon found herself meeting with a grim Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort to explain why the fighter cost so much.
As old Groper Joe might say, this is a big fuckin’ deal.
The military procurement process is badly busted and has been for decades. It takes forever to push a new program through the increasingly complex, Byzantine procurement system; back in World War II a new fighter could go through the process from concept to squadron service in a matter of months, where now it takes years. Granted aircraft now are much more complex than they were then; but maybe, just maybe, this instance of a President actually sitting down with a defense contractor and saying “you know, I think you can get us a better deal” might be the start of something.
Of course the President won’t get the credit for it; as the article concludes: It’s a safe bet that President Trump won’t get any more credit for his F-35 triumph from the mainstream media than he has gotten for creating six million new jobs or eliminating regulations. But his administration has now positioned its biggest weapons program to reap huge savings as production ramps up for America’s joint force and its allies. This is the kind of efficiency that the people who originally conceived the F-35 fighter had hoped for, but it took Trump to make it happen.
Credit is as credit does, but in the end, a few bucks were saved. Now if he could only apply that to the rest of the Imperial government.