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Acting US Secretary Of Defense Keeps Saying F-35 Program Is “F**cked Up”: Media

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Acting US Secretary Of Defense Keeps Saying F-35 Program Is "F**cked Up": Media

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Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who is a former Boeing employee, has reportedly been extremely critical of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in private meetings, according to a report by Politico citing anonymous witnesses of several exchanges.

His alleged constant bashing of Lockheed Martin’s handling of the program and claims that Boeing would do better have raised concerns whether he is showing bias.

Shanahan, who spent 31 years at Boeing before joining the Pentagon in mid-2017, has signed an ethics agreement recusing him from weighing in on matters involving Boeing.

“But that hasn’t stopped him from praising Boeing and trashing competitors such as Lockheed Martin during internal meetings,” according to two anonymous former government officials cited by Politico.

Shanahan reportedly called the $1 trillion F-35 stealth fighter “f—ed up,” saying that Lockheed “doesn’t know how to run a program.”

“He is said to have “dumped” on the aircraft regularly, with a former Trump administration official noting that he kind of “went off” on the program last year. “He would complain about Lockheed’s timing and their inability to deliver, and from a Boeing point of view, say things like, ‘We would never do that,'” the former official revealed,” Task & Purpose reported.

In other meetings he was reportedly cited as saying that the program was “unsustainable,” complaining about the cost in particular of the stealth fighters, with separate versions built for the Navy, Marines and Air Force.

Shanahan’s bashing of the F-35 program reportedly angered some Republican senators, who had a home-district interest in it.

“He would complain about Lockheed’s timing and their inability to deliver, and from a Boeing point of view, say things like, ‘We would never do that,'” one unnamed former official said.

Shanahan’s office released a statement saying he is committed to his agreement to stay out of matters involving Boeing, after being asked for a comment.

“Under his ethics agreement, Mr. Shanahan has recused himself for the duration of his service in the Department of Defense from participating personally and substantially in matters in which the Boeing Company is a party,” his office said.

According to two anonymous officials who are still serving, Shanahan’s critics are misreading his comments and taking them out of context.

“While Shanahan regularly recounts his experience working on major programs at Boeing, he has not said the company should have won the F-35 contract.”

“He’s not talking about Boeing right now; he’s really speaking more to his experience, his leadership. His insight is, ‘I’ve seen this, I’ve done it,’” one Defense Department official said, cited by Politico.

A second anonymous source, a senior government official “who has been in the bulk of the meetings involving the F-35,” said Shanahan is not boosting Boeing.

“I don’t believe that’s the case at all. I think he’s agnostic toward Boeing at best. I think he’s extremely confident about his capability relative to sourcing and working with contractors,” this official said. “There might be overconfidence there in terms of how his commercial experience translates to defense programs. But I don’t think there’s any intent to have Boeing favored in the building.”

Ethics agreements aside, it is possibly not a bad idea for some scrutiny to be thrown the F-35 program’s direction from senior officials. The most expensive military project in history appears to be plagued by constant design flaws, malfunctions and issues, which keep breaking the cost record regularly.

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  • Brother Ma

    I agree that Shanahan is not biased in any significant way. I actually believe he is calling out the shoddy work done by all the pigs at the trough including Lockheed Martin.

    Yes,he was a pig as well but now he is in a diff capacity …now the crap they built can cost him his job or honour in the event of war. He doesn’t want that stain on him.

    • You can call me Al

      Well yes, but obviously it has nothing to do with him wanting to go back to Boeing on some seriously high salary !!!.

      • Brother Ma

        Ironic Al or are you serious?

        • You can call me Al

          Can I opt for “Ironic serious” ?

      • AM Hants

        Wonder where Mattis will end up?

        • You can call me Al

          Nest to McCain hopefully.

      • Tudor Miron

        First of all Boeing sent him IN with clear purpose :) This one’s a perfect case for him – he doesn’t have to lie about F-35 (everyone knows that’s a barely flying pig sucking monery out of failing state) yet he’s fulfilling his assignment (at Boeing) as required.

        • BMWA1

          USAF should buy the new Mig 35 to replace F 35. It would be cheaper and better.

          • Tudor Miron

            Would not work, unfortunately. Those are both multipurpose fighters but Mig-35 is designed to strike ground and aerial targets while F-35’s two primary objectives are striking taxpayers pockets and making few people very rich. For this reason Mig-35 can’t replace F-35.

          • goingbrokes

            Lol.

          • Sinbad2

            The MIG doesn’t have Bluetooth.

  • You can call me Al

    “His alleged constant bashing of Lockheed Martin’s handling of the program (F35) and claims that Boeing would do better have raised concerns whether he is showing bias.”

    ……………………

    “While Shanahan regularly recounts his experience working on major programs at Boeing, he has not said the company should have won the F-35 contract.”

  • AM Hants

    He has a point. If only they asked Russia for help, how much would they have saved, not forgetting timescales. No wonder people flock to Russian Defence Trade Exhibitions.

  • Barba_Papa

    This guy criticizing Lockheed is like a white man criticizing feminists, muslims and blacks. Doesn’t matter how good or well thought his message is, it’s so easy for the other parties to dismiss him based on his past that he might as well have said nothing. Now, if a former Lockheed exec would have said this, this would be akin to woman, or a muslim or a black person criticizing the excesses and extremists in their own.

  • Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

    How can a man who spent more than half of his life at Boeing, say i in no way favors Boeing?

    And its not Lockheed who is the stupid one here, its the one who keeps pouring taxpayer money into this lost cause.

  • goingbrokes

    “… constant design flaws, cost overruns and setbacks…”

    That’s what you get when you have a state run industry. It has happened sooo many times, but the problem is obvious only when you recognise that L-Martin is a state enterprise, just like in communist Russia. Without the state it’d be unrecognisable. People are in denial about the state sponsorship, and can’t see the inherent problems.
    (And it’s not that state enterprise is bad, but this situation is worst of all worlds. Competitive private enterprise guarantees price constraint. State enterprise can guarantee the quality no matter the price. When you pretend that a state enterprise is private you don’t get competitive price, neither the good quality supposedly guaranteed by the state. You just get a mess. It’s really ridiculous.)

    • Sinbad2

      State run?
      State Street Corporation owns 16%
      Capital Group 8%
      Vanguard and BlackRock own 7% each and Bank of America 3%.

      The US doesn’t have a state, it has a corporation.
      All Americans, and all Government officials serve the corporations, it’s the American way.
      Drink Brawndo.

      • goingbrokes

        Forget the ownership percentages, that’s the smoke-screen. When over 90% of the business is government “contracts” it counts as state “owned” or state “run”. The “ownership” percentages are just a list of people collecting on the gravy train. In US “state run” means that state abdicates almost all responsibility, and that’s why the companies perform so badly from every angle.

        You are right that the officials serve the corporations (although it is the central banks actually, ultimately) but that is just the mechanism to make the state do exactly as the corps say. The state exist and is an important additional layer of deception for the banksters and other scum. The state exists to collect taxes which the private central bank channels for their own purposes first, and then give the government some of it back most of which the corporations then promptly dispose of. That’s why there is no money left for the public services. Have a good day.