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US Navy Admiral Questions Expensive Stealth Platforms 490

Posted by Soulskill
from the doesn't-see-them-being-useful dept.
Trepidity writes "United States Navy Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert stirred a controversy by questioning much of the thinking underlying current U.S. defense technology. He argues that stealth technology is unlikely to retain its usefulness much into the future, and so focus should switch towards standoff weapons. In addition, he criticizes the focus on expensive all-in-one platforms such as the F-35 fighter, arguing for a payload-centric, flexible approach he compares to trucks rather than luxury cars."
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US Navy Admiral Questions Expensive Stealth Platforms

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:15PM (#40837267)
    We spend entirely too much money on our military. We are so far ahead of the next country in terms of dollars spent it's not even close. We keep bases all around the world, protecting everybody, so that they don't have to spend their own money on a military and instead can spend it domestically. It needs to end. It's no longer 1955.
  • by pipedwho (1174327) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:16PM (#40837271)

    'interfere with the military industrial complex gravy train'.

  • How about... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:17PM (#40837277)
    How about trying to maintain a foreign policy that encourages peace and free trade? I'm sure that will keep us much safer and will cost us less. But instead we spend our billions on arms and look for conflicts to use them in...
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:23PM (#40837311)
    Exactly. We need diplomacy, not bombs. We need to stop trying to be the world's "policeman", stop propping up dictators, stop propping up the rebels to take down the dictators we earlier propped up, and slash military spending. Consider Switzerland, for example.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:27PM (#40837345)

    Awkward moment when even the military is calling out excessive military spending

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:29PM (#40837363)

    We need to cut our spending because other countries are using us as proxy army so they don't have to spend their own money on their own defense. If they want military protection, let me them run it themselves.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:41PM (#40837459)

    During WWII, they cranked planes out by the 1,000's if not 10's of 1,000's. Nowadays, the number of high performance jets is measured in the hundreds. If there were to be a conflict, due to the complexity of today's aircraft, there is no way to crank out new aircraft by the 1,000's or hundreds or even tens. There may certainly be a need for a much simpler aircraft that can be easily mass produced in significant quantities.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:46PM (#40837507) Homepage

    And his logic is hard to fault. He pointed to the B-52 as an example of a flexible weapons platform that had a wide variety of uses that didn't require stealth technology compared to the limited usefulness of the F-117.

    Solid, reliable and flexible is more important than stealth, which was designed for a war we're likely never going to fight.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:48PM (#40837521)

    Many of those countries 'use you as a proxy army' because the US government didn't want those countries to be military competitors post-WW2. While that may have been a sensible policy, you can hardly blame them for something the US government itself encouraged.

  • by thesandbender (911391) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:49PM (#40837531)
    The F-22 is ultimately meant to protect our AWACS planes. If the AWACS are taking out, the USAF loses their view of the airspace and controlling it becomes much more difficult. The F-22 are meant to loiter a distance away from the AWACS and take their targeting instructions from them. The enemy aircraft get popped and if it's done right the F-22 are still hidden.

    If they know its going to be a true dog fight, they're going to send in the F-15s which have proven time and again that it can hold it's own (b/c despite their size, they were designed to be close in knife fighters). The F-15's won't always maintain this superiority and newer Mig's and Sukohi's have closed much or all of the gap... but it's still one of the best out their.

    Anyway, using a ground based analogy... the F-22 is meant to a sniper, supporting the F-15's and F/A-18's are the grunts who will be doing the close in work.
  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:56PM (#40837573)

    People have been arguing over the best value in military equipment for standing armies for the better part of 2 centuries, this isn't anything new.

    And no one is right. General purpose versatile weapons that are useful against relatively weak powers if the next war you fight is against a relatively weak power, but you can't anticipate which one, where specialized equipment is useful against a specific target when you know who you're fighting.

    If you could predict the future and know what enemy you'd have to fight next, and what weapons you'd want for that war then sure, you could reasonably guess what platforms you want, or what payloads you want. His view is that the US can innovate on those things separately fast enough to adapt to any new threat, he might be right of course, but probably for relatively low involvement conflicts he's wrong, and knowing the future mix is tough.

    The specific criticism of stealth isn't anything new. By the time you ever have to fight anyone important they'll probably be able to see stealth aircraft so you're not getting much, on the other hand if you have to go into Syria by the end of the month stealth could payoff. Transferring research to longer range weapons (standoff weapons in his parlance) isn't an inherently bad idea, but of course the longer a munition has to travel the easier it is to disrupt or intercept so you could spend a lot of research dollars on something that will just fail to deliver. Electromagnetically launched weapons probably have a place, but that's only one piece of a large puzzle.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:03PM (#40837637) Homepage

    During WWII, they cranked planes out by the 1,000's if not 10's of 1,000's. Nowadays, the number of high performance jets is measured in the hundreds. If there were to be a conflict, due to the complexity of today's aircraft, there is no way to crank out new aircraft by the 1,000's or hundreds or even tens. There may certainly be a need for a much simpler aircraft that can be easily mass produced in significant quantities.

    Those are called drones (and cruise missiles which really are a form of drone). The idea is that meatbags don't get to see the action up close. That's for the video gear.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:05PM (#40837645)

    Only a fool would believe that the US is the World's 'policeman' and the notion of 'protecting' everyone is a bad joke. All of that crap is for sheeple consumption in the US. The US is the latest EMPIRE and is protecting ITS interests. Anyone that wants to do anything outside these 'interests' has their country trashed and/or government removed either directly or indirectly via CIA sponsored proxies. This is not sustainable and will now stretch the empire to its breaking point especially as the US economy no longer supports these inglorious ambitions. The decline of the US Empire is mirroring the decline the of the Roman Empire.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:08PM (#40837673)
    Maintaining a large military does not help the country. Why do you think 9/11 happened? It was because the US interfered in the Middle East. Its no accident that terrorist attacks haven't happened in neutral Switzerland. Peace is never won through bombs, it isn't won by propping up dictators, its won through diplomacy, its won through free trade and honesty. War breeds war.
  • by sydbarrett74 (74307) <sydbarrett74.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:09PM (#40837679)
    ...who want to shove this stuff down the armed forces' throats. The generals and admirals themselves say they don't want the kit, but the lobbyists and aerospace companies insist on making their billions or even trillions of dollars; and the members of Congress want their kickbacks and 'campaign contributions'.
  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:39PM (#40837915)

    What sort of moron wants a fair fight if they can have an advantage?

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:41PM (#40837929) Journal

    We need diplomacy, not bombs.

     
    In an ideal world, diplomacy should lead the way
     
    Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world
     
    In this world we live in, talking softly while carrying a big stick is still the most practical way of doing things
     

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:57PM (#40838083) Journal

    Your average street cop isn't out there to protect you, they are out there to serve the interests of the government.

     
    I beg to differ
     
    The average stret cop isn't out there to serve the interests of the government - rather, his or her main interest is to serve herself / himself
     
    As for secondary interests, maybe for local business concerns or drug lords, or whoever can pull the right strings for the local street beat cops
     

  • Re:How about... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:07AM (#40838173)

    Private property is theft from the commons.

    Given that's there's no such entity as "the commons", this doesn't strike me as even remotely a problem. I'm sure private property is stealing from invisible pink unicorns as well.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:19AM (#40838279) Journal
    Wise people prefer to win battles without fighting.

    Very often that involves:
    1) bringing guns or MOABs to knife fights
    2) giving the loser hope of survival if they surrender[1], typically with some way of saving face.

    [1] If you are known to never take prisoners or known to treat prisoners badly, more of your enemies will fight to the bitter end.
  • Re:NObama 2012 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @12:25AM (#40838325)

    Will Hussein listen to his OWN generals? Hell no.

    What *actually* happens, as you would know if you've been following the current case of the M-1 and a hundred like it before, is that the Pentagon decides that they don't want to spend their money on something that they don't think will help them accomplish their mission, and the the defense contractors who will lose funding run screaming to their congresscritter, who the goes screaming to the public that the {commies,terrorists,aliens} will win if the Pentagon is not allowed to spend all those billions of dollars in their district, so Congress puts in the defense budget even though the Pentagon doesn't want it.

    'Cause we got to keep that pork flowing.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:11AM (#40838583)

    Bankrupting yourself building inappropriate sticks isn't "playing it safe", it's pork.

  • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:35AM (#40838733) Homepage Journal

    Exactly. We need diplomacy, not bombs.

    This is stupid beyond words. We HAVE diplomacy, and always try diplomacy first, Democrat or Republican in office. Further, this kind of thinking completely ignores the fact that the US has intractable enemies that won't be swayed from their national interests by any amount of diplomacy. Russia is always going to see the US as an adversary. China is always going to see the US as an adversary. Various Middle Eastern and Asian countries are the same. No amount of diplomacy is going to stop Russia and China from blocking UN support for freedom movements in countries with rulers they support. No amount of diplomacy is going to stop Putin's Russia from trying to reassert supremacy over their former satellites in East Europe. No amount of diplomacy is going to stop China from trying to claim all of the islands, oil fields, and shipping lanes in the South China Sea.

    Get your head out of the sand. Everyone here... myself included... agrees that we need a smaller military. But "diplomacy not bombs" is hippy-ish stupidity. Try diplomacy first. If that doesn't work, then you'd damn well better have the bombs.

  • by UncleTogie (1004853) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:07AM (#40838911) Homepage Journal

    Just look at how well that trickle-down theory worked during the war...

    Put another way, who benefited more, the workers or the board of Halliburton?

  • by Jubedgy (319420) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:12AM (#40839347)

    Why is the owner of the means of production unjustified in having ownership of those produced? He put his capital at risk to start it up, and he fairly compensates people for their labor. They are neither forced into working for him, nor prevented from leaving at their leisure (in the US, at least) if they do not feel that they are fairly compensated. They also have the ability to come up with a new product or improved process to become the next owner themselves.

    Marxism is the greatest bastion of those too lazy to innovate and care for themselves. It may look nice in paper, but it failed in the USSR, it failed in Cuba, and it's failing the Chinese as we speak, despite the claims of such exalted "intellectuals" as Elizabeth "I'm a Cherokee!" Warren. IIRC, marxism (lower case 'm' intended in a derogatory manner) calls for 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need'...how many college marxists actually believe that? How many would be willing to apply that to their grading system? Probably only those failing.

    And just because I can't resist violating Godwin's Law when answering a commie...who has killed more people, Hitler's Nazis or Marx's ideologues? The Cambodian killing fields, Stalin's purges, Chairman Mao's purges. There is more blood, hate, intolerance and exploitation under the Marxist ideology than anything else. The Robespierre period of the French Revolution is on a much smaller scale, as is wahhabi-ism...those are the two closest competitors I can think of.

    All that being said, if you are a US citizen, the first amendment does guarantee your right to have and espouse completely stupid opinion, as it guarantees my right to ridicule you mercilessly for having said opinion. Regardless, please keep your marxism to yourself and stop trying to spread its hatred, thanks...the tens of millions of people who have died under its thumb will thank you.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:39AM (#40839485) Journal

    Really? What has diplomacy EVER solved?

    Not getting nuked during Cold War was a fairly nice achievement, if you ask me.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @04:14AM (#40839643) Homepage

    Not really. Look at Northern Ireland. The relative size of our military compared to the IRA was irrelevant, and ultimately it was negotiation that resolved the situation.

    Having a big and powerful military is not only ineffective against many smaller forces, it also increases the level of tension and drives other countries to arming themselves with WMDs. North Korea wouldn't need nukes if it wasn't at war with the US. Iran wouldn't want them if they were not in a cold war with the US and Israel, with the threat of massive invasion.

  • by Dynetrekk (1607735) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:24AM (#40839931)

    You guys already have a stick that's as big as everyone else's combined. How big do you really need it to be?

    You can't be too rich, too thin, or have a too big stick.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:48AM (#40840049) Homepage

    his is stupid beyond words. We HAVE diplomacy, and always try diplomacy first, Democrat or Republican in office.

    One of the main criticisms of the Iraq invasion is that you didn't give weapons inspectors time to do their work (and surprise surprise it turned out their failure to find any weapons was because there were not any), and did not exhaust diplomatic options. Not only did you fail to properly negotiate with Iraq, you failed to properly negotiate with the UN and started the war on dubious legal ground.

    Further, this kind of thinking completely ignores the fact that the US has intractable enemies that won't be swayed from their national interests by any amount of diplomacy.

    We used to think that about the IRA, but when we finally stopped fighting them and actually sat down and worked it out the situation was resolved. Afghanistan looks like it will be the same, with peace ultimately depending on a negotiated resolution with the Taliban.

    Russia is always going to see the US as an adversary. China is always going to see the US as an adversary.

    If the US were not trying to Team America World Police I think you would find their attitudes towards you quickly soften. Saying "never" is almost stupid beyond words when you look at how many countries have reconciled. How about Britain and the US? Or Japan and South Korea? France and Germany?

  • by gtall (79522) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:23AM (#40840215)

    Revisionism isn't helpful. In Iraq, the U.S. removed a dictator who prevented the majority Shi'ites from living in a democracy. They may not have one yet but at least now they have a chance. And Saddam was another war waiting to happen, the only reason it didn't from he or his sons is because the U.S. spent 10 years and a lot of money making sure he couldn't rearm enough to start one. When it became clear, he or his sons were going to be a perpetual threat, the U.S. took him out.

    The IRA was only brought to the bargaining table after it was rammed into their thick heads they couldn't win. That took a lot head-bashing to get them to that point. And if they had succeeded, they'd have started in on Ireland because the IRA was a bunch of socialists on a mission to unify the island under their direct control.

    Britain and the U.S. fought it out, then reconciled, Japan and S. Korea are not reconciled, they simply have decided not to fight it out...yet. Japan recently claimed some islands that S. Korea thinks are theirs, and S.Korea halted progress on a defense pact over the issue. France and Germany only reconciled after Germany was defeated and France had nothing left with which to continue the fight. The U.S. made them reconcile by liberating France and defeating Germany.

    Putin's Russia will never reconcile with the West simply because he wants to create another Stalinist state, but one he thinks can be run efficiently. The whole problem with the U.S. and Russia over Syria is because if the West succeeds in forcing the government there out, then Putin is worried he'll look like the petty dictator he really is and the West might attempt to force him out as well. His methods for keeping power are not all that dissimilar to Assad's and he'll be calling out the military should there ever be a popular groundswell of opposition to him. You can take the man out of the KGB but you cannot take the KGB out of the man.

    Islam will never reconcile with the West either either. The West believes in democracy where power comes from the people. Islam believes that power comes from Allah. You can see it starting to reassert it's political basis in Turkey. Erdogan cannot stop himself from attempting the slow Islamization of Turkey's political landscape. Give it another 10 years and there won't be any democracy left in Turkey.

    China is busy expanding into anything they think they can grab. There's no accommodating them unless by that you mean acquiescing to whatever their demands are this year. A single party system has no bounds stopping it from becoming a major headache.

  • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:50AM (#40840325) Homepage

    Really? What has diplomacy EVER solved?

    Not getting nuked during Cold War was a fairly nice achievement, if you ask me.

    I'd bet most /. nowadays weren't even around when the Berlin Wall fell, let alone know any important events that preceded it. For them, the start of recorded history began with the rise of the Kardashians or something like that. It's similar to the idiots who say "war has never solved anything", but can't remember how Hitler was defeated. Illiterate pukes who aim to explain everything complex with simple slogans.

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