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An Extremely Immodest Proposal

1:30 PM, Jul 18, 2011 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
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I thought that way once, more than ten years ago. As the principal scribe for the defense report of the Project for the New American Century, I argued that it would be preferable to buy more F-22s than to proceed with the massive F-35 program, which put so many eggs in a single basket with so many engineering problems still to be sorted out. But McCain and Levin are suggesting that we now do to the F-35 what was done to the F-22: terminate the effort with development and a tiny amount of procurement.

That’s no longer a responsible choice or a realistic position. I’ve only outlined the consequences of terminating the F-35 and closer analysis would only reveal more problems. Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute described the McCain-Levin letter as part of a “bad week for U.S. airpower.” But it was more than that. The letter calls into question the future of American military power in its broadest sense.

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