Obama in 2007: F-22, V-22 don’t work

I’m researching an article on the F-22′s future in the next administration. President-elect Barack Obama has been careful not to show his hand on specific issues throughout the campaign, but his national security team will be faced with several immediate acquisition decisions when they take office on 21 January.

Here’s the only direct statement I can find by Obama on the F-22. It came during a Q & A with voters in Cedar Falls, Iowa on 15 August 2007.

Q Thank you. John Mikulski (sp) from Dubuque.

Thebiggest, most powerful special interest group we have in this countryis the military-industrial complex. And they keep protecting veryexpensive pork projects that are not needed for our national defense.Senator Biden, Senator Edwards and Governor Richardson have said thatthey would cut the F-22 fighter, a very expensive piece of flying pork. Will you pledge to cut that program, sir?

SEN. OBAMA:  What I have said in audiences in Iowa and across the country is thatone of my first acts when I call together the Joint Chiefs of Staff andthe secretary of Defense is number one, the mission to get our troopsout of Iraq. Number two is I want a review of our Pentagon budget. It’sbloated. It is still designed for the Cold War instead of some of thenew challenges that we’re going to be facing in the future.

Ihave not specifically identified individual spending projects orprograms because I think that there’s a lot there. You know, the Ospreyis an example of something where it’s not clear that it’s working theway — in fact, it’s fairly clear that it hasn’t performed the way itwas supposed to. The F-22 is another example.

Alas, it’s possible to read too much into this statement. Obama is not taking a policy position on either program. His comment about the F-22 seems more like a polite pander than a firm belief. The fact that he arbitrarily raised the V-22 as an archetype of ineffectual acquisition — without prompting — could be interesting.

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4 Responses to Obama in 2007: F-22, V-22 don’t work

  1. SMSgt Mac 14 November, 2008 at 1:27 am #

    What we can read from this is that both the questioner and the respondent are ignorami.

    I like asking the masses: WHAT military-industrial complex? Show me the numbers (as if I don’t already have them).

    I DO think there’s a few complexes out there that need watching though, and suspect they often use the military-industrial canard as a form of misdirection.

  2. JC 14 November, 2008 at 9:55 pm #

    Since making that statement Obama’s had an opportunity to fly on a V-22. I wonder how he feels about its performance now?

  3. SMSgt Mac 15 November, 2008 at 7:40 am #

    That is a very good question. Hopefully while Obama was in the CENTCOM AOR he had a chance to compare his V-22 hop with a jaunt on a Frog. Preferrably in one place on a H-46 and back out on a V-22.

  4. Jimmy 17 November, 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    Maybe he needs to hitch a ride on the F-22 as well.
    Oh, wait, he can’t ‘cuz the Air Force didn’t buy the two-seater!

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