Category: Defense

What Price Is ‘Defense?’: America’s Costly, Dysfunctional Approach to Security Is Making Us Ever Less Safe –

The assumption is that when it comes to spending on the military and related activities, more is always better.

Source: What Price Is ‘Defense?’: America’s Costly, Dysfunctional Approach to Security Is Making Us Ever Less Safe –

Dear US Congress, thank you for saving Australia from itself – Michael West

Richard Marles, Anthony Albanese, AUKUS

Is “bad news” out of US Congress about an AUKUS nuclear submarine deal a blessing in disguise? Former submariner and senator Rex Patrick says US politicians, though acting in the interests of the US, may save Australia from itself, and $170 billion too.

Source: Dear US Congress, thank you for saving Australia from itself – Michael West

AUKUS submarine deal sails into a storm

The trap of bipartisan politics, Why couldn’t Albanese have predicted this? Rather than supporting the Dutton plan?

Australia insists the AUKUS pact is on track despite US senators saying their submarine manufacturing base is at “breaking point” due to the extra demands.

Source: AUKUS submarine deal sails into a storm

Defence: Australia buys 20 ‘God of war’ missile launchers

The long-range missile launcher has been credited with a key role in Ukraine’s fight against Russian invaders.

$1 Billion for boys with toys: What the fuck is 300 km from anywhere in Australia? We drive that distance for a barbecue and then drive back home.

With a range of 300 km who might these land-based missile launchers be aimed at. How quickly can they be repositioned in a country the size of Australia? Have they been purchased to protect AUKUS facilities and profits or Australian citizens?

HIMARS munitions can be fired up to 300 kilometres, a major increase on the Australian Army’s maximum strike capacity of 30 to 50 kilometres with the lightweight howitzer.

Source: Defence: Australia buys 20 ‘God of war’ missile launchers

Defence procurement is rotten to the core: It’s time for a Royal Commission – Pearls and Irritations

TOY Tank between stacks of coins as a symbol of high Armament expenditure.

While the Robodebt fiasco is important and warrants a full scale inquiry, it is minor compared to the shocking report outlined by the Government on defence projects. The question therefore begs: are there similar or worst stories hiding in the Department of Defence?

Source: Defence procurement is rotten to the core: It’s time for a Royal Commission – Pearls and Irritations

Gravy train: Corporate Profiteering on National Defense | The Smirking Chimp

As President Eisenhower warned long ago, excessive military spending is “a theft” from the people: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Source: Gravy train: Corporate Profiteering on National Defense | The Smirking Chimp

King of Lemons: Australia swindled by Lockheed Martin and its Joint Strike Fighter – Michael West

Joint Strike Fighter, JSF, Lockheed Martin

WHAT does all this mean for Australia? Defence gives an average price of less than $126 million for Australia’s 72 F-35s when fully operational by 2023. It is the ongoing costs of maintenance and support that are the killer. The Australian Strategy Policy Institute estimates the sustainment costs to be triple those of the F-18 fighters it replaces. Bloomberg reported this month that the confidential estimates of the Pentagon’s Cost Analysis Unit now put the F-35’s life cycle operating and sustainment costs at $US1.723 trillion in 2020 dollars – easily the most expensive weapons program in history. It says that $1.266 trillion of the $US1.723 trillion is for operations and support and the rest for the initial acquisition cost. On this basis, the life cycle cost in current dollars for Australia’s F 35s will be approximately $(A)475 million per plane. The sustainment costs are so high it’s likely the US will keep cutting the total number of planes it buys from its proposed 2400, thus adding to unit costs.

King of Lemons: Australia swindled by Lockheed Martin and its Joint Strike Fighter – Michael West

In maiden speech, Jim Molan warns of China war risk, calls for Defence boost

Jim Molan in the Senate chamber in Canberra.

Should The Butcher Of Fallujah be regarded as our expert on Defense?

Australia needs to increase its military self-reliance so that it can approach China from “a position of strength” and prepare for the possibility that the rising power could go to war with the United States, new Liberal senator Jim Molan has said.

The retired army major-general used his maiden speech to the Senate on Wednesday to stake out his position as a defence hawk, calling for long-term investment in military readiness and linked his call specifically to China’s challenge to a US that is in “relative decline” in defence terms.

via In maiden speech, Jim Molan warns of China war risk, calls for Defence boost

Enough with “the Colbert Defense”: Why criminals, bigots and jerks cry “satire!” when exposed –

The cry of “it was just satire” is more and more common. Why it’s on the rise and why it’s not a real defense

Source: Enough with “the Colbert Defense”: Why criminals, bigots and jerks cry “satire!” when exposed –

Australian military to receive $30 billion boost in long-awaited Defence White Paper

Today’s long awaited Defence White Paper will outline $30 billion of additional spending over the next 10 years.

Source: Australian military to receive $30 billion boost in long-awaited Defence White Paper – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Death Toll Continues To Rise In Armed Forces Bowl Tragedy

Death Toll Continues To Rise In Armed Forces Bowl Tragedy


FORT WORTH, TEXAS (CT&P) – The death toll topped 4000 this morning as rescuers continued to pull victims from the ruins of the Amon G. Carter Stadium after two Lockheed Martin F-35 jets collided during a halftime flyover. Reuters is reporting that government authorities say that the toll could go much higher in the next few days as more rubble is removed from the south end zone.


The tragic collision occurred just as three F-35’s were approaching the stadium in a delta formation. The jets were trailing red, white, and blue smoke in a display of patriotism meant to garner public support for the military-industrial complex. Eyewitnesses told the Dallas Morning News that two of the planes were behaving “erratically” just before the crash.

“One plane was jerkin’ side to side and its landing gear were poppin’ up and down faster than a rattlesnake!” said Angus McTurd of Tainted Springs. “It was like it was in some kinda of video game. The plane flying next to it was rearin’ up and down like steer on steroids. Just as they came over the top of the stadium they collided and one of ‘em cartwheeled into the south end zone. The other one started burnin’ and crashed over in the colored neighborhood just to the west of the stadium. It was a helluva thing to watch!”

Both pilots managed to punch out of their planes and survived the crash. Air Force spokesman Major T. J. “King” Kong told reporters that was because “the ejection seats were the only thing on the aircraft that worked worth a shit.”


Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price told KDFW Fox 4 News that she had begged Pentagon officials to use some other type of plane for the flyover, but they insisted on using the F-35 Lightnings, even though they were the only three cleared to fly out of the entire fleet of troubled aircraft.

“I told those idiots we did not want those flying washing machines over our city, much less a stadium packed full of people,” said Price. “Hell, it would have been safer to fly the fucking Hindenburg over the game!”

The trillion dollar F-35 has been plagued with cost overruns, groundings, and embarrassing glitches, such as its inability to fire its cannon until 2019, when the software for the weapon is upgraded. However, this has not dampened the Pentagon’s enthusiasm for the plane and it continues to garner support from senators and representatives from states where the plane’s over 300,000 parts are manufactured.

“It’s a gorgeous plane and we fully believe that some day it will actually be able to fly on a regular basis,” said General Jack Ripper, USAF (Retired). “Every new weapons system is bound to have a few snags or hitches in development, and I don’t think we should condemn an entire program for a single slip up.”


General Ripper is a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin.

Some cable pundits expressed surprise that the game was allowed to continue after the plane incinerated several thousand fans, but Pentagon officials on the bowl committee insisted that it would be good for the public to get used to these types of incidents, because over 2500 of the flying deathtraps will eventually be in service in the USAF alone.

“Things explode every day,” said General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. “If we stopped what we were doing every time something blew up, we’d never get anything accomplished.”

Houston managed to win the game 35-34 over the Pitt Panthers after an incredible comeback in the fourth quarter. Many sports analysts attributed the comeback to the Pittsburgh player’s reluctance to approach the south end zone, which was a sea of fire and twisted wreckage for most of the second half.

The third F-35 Lightning was last seen flying erratically towards the U.S.-Mexico border and remains unaccounted for. Air Force personnel have been unable to raise the aircraft by radio because of a glitch in the F-35 communications systems and stealth safeguards built into the plane are making it very difficult to spot on radar.

Abbott: David Johnston has my full confidence: Submarine Corp bagged to the world “they couldn’t build a canoe” Way to go to fold an industry Abbott

Defence minister David Johnston with France's President Francois Hollande (centre) inspecting a model of the Royal Australian Navy's Collins Class submarine.

Abbott under pressure to drop the defence minister, David Johnston, after the PM was forced to defend the Australian Submarine Company, while Jacqui Lambie expects a deal on defence pay. Follow it live…

Labor censure motion of David Johnston

The Labor motion in the senate is thus:

I move that the Senate censures the Minister for Defence (Senator Johnston) for:

1) Insulting the men and women of ASC by stating he “wouldn’t trust them to build a canoe”;

2) Undermining confidence in Australia’s defence capability;

3) Threatening the integrity of the Future Submarine Project, Australia’s largest defence procurement, by demonstrating bias and failing to conduct a competitive tender;

4) Breaking his promise made on 8 May 2013 to build 12 new submarines at ASC in South Australia; and

5) Cutting the real pay, Christmas and recreation leave for Australian Defence Force personnel.

Penny Wong says with his comments, Johnston has compromised the procurement process for future submarine contracts. Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs are involved.

The forgotten poor – until we need a few bucks.


Tony Abbott has vowed to lift the poor of India and China from their poverty by selling them coal.  But what about poor people in Australia?

Various ministers tell us that education, health and welfare are no longer affordable.  Others tell us that we have been too greedy and that the “wage explosion” and “toxic taxes” are the root of our problems.  Joe Hockey assures that “a rising tide will lift all boats” while the girlinator tells us we must “live within our means” to fix “Laboor’s debt and deficit disaster”.

All of this is crap of course as can easily be shown by reference to the facts.

As a percentage of GDP, Australian government spending on health is the tenth lowest of the 33 countries in the OECD database and the lowest among wealthy countries.

The 8.3% of GDP spent by the US government, for instance, is higher than the 6.4% spent by the Commonwealth and state governments in Australia.

Nor is it true that total health expenditure – government plus private spending – are unsustainable. Australia spends about 9.5% of GDP on health services; the United States spends 17.7%.

As discussed on The Conversation, the real reason for co-payments appears to be ideological – a dislike of communal sharing even when it is to alleviate the financial burden of those already disadvantaged by illness.

Australia spends 19.5% of our GDP on social welfare, whereas some European countries like France and Belgium spend upwards of 30% of their GDP on the welfare system.

Australia ranks 25th of 30 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development with data available in terms of expenditure for unemployment.

The largest slice of our welfare payments goes towards the age pension. According to OECD Pensions at a Glance 2013, Australia’s public spending on the age pension is much lower than pension spending in Europe.

Australia spends 3.5% of GDP on the age pension, while Italy spends 15%, France spends 14% and the United Kingdom spends 6%.

A recent OECD report stated that Australia spends slightly less on education as a percentage of GDP (5.8 per cent) than the OECD average of 6.1 per cent. Although it also found that Australia’s total spend has increased relative to GDP over recent years, up from 5.2 per cent in 2000.

And as for a wage explosion, official figures show wage growth remaining at a historic low in the September quarter.  The Bureau of Statistics data shows the annual pace of wage growth remained at 2.6 per cent for the second straight quarter, as expected.

The index peaked over 4 per cent shortly before the financial crisis and has been on a downhill trajectory ever since, now running at its lowest level since the records started in 1997.

Abbott and Hockey also emphasise the need to increase productivity.  What they fail to mention is that, between 2003-04 and 2012-13, capital productivity shrank 23 per cent while labour productivity increased 14 per cent.  It would appear that the workers are doing the lifting while the owners of capital are very much leaning on them.

Meanwhile, the Australian Council of Social Service released a new report revealing that poverty is growing in Australia with an estimated 2.5 million people or 13.9% of all people living below the internationally accepted poverty line with 603,000 or 17.7% of all children living in poverty in Australia.  Over a third (36.8%) of children in sole parent families are living in poverty.

“Most of the poverty we found is concentrated among the groups of people facing the most disadvantage and barriers to fully participating in our community. Those most likely to be in poverty are people who are unemployed (61.2%) and those in a household that relies on social security as its main source of income (40.1%), particularly on the Newstart Allowance (55.1%) or Youth Allowance (50.6%).

This finding brings into focus the sheer inadequacy of these allowance payments which fall well below the poverty line. The poverty line for a single adult is $400 per week yet the maximum rate of payment for a single person on Newstart – when Rent Assistance and other supplementary payments is added – is only $303 per week. This is $97 per week below the 50% of median income poverty line.”

Since 1996, payments for the single unemployed have fallen from 23.5% of the average wage for males to 19.5%. Furthermore, the level of Newstart for a single person has fallen from around 54% to 45% of the after-tax minimum wage. Newstart has fallen from 46% of median family income in 1996 to 36% in 2009-10 – or, from a little way below a standard relative income poverty line, to a long way below.

Before the last election, the Greens had the Parliamentary Budget Office cost an increase of $50 a week to the Newstart payment.  It would cost about $1.8 billion a year.  Not only would this help lift about 1 million people from poverty, it would provide stimulus to the economy as every cent would be recycled, spent on survival.  It would lead to better health and education outcomes and facilitate more people finding employment.  It’s much easier to look for a job if you have an address and enough to eat and a little left over to buy an outfit and get public transport there should you get an interview.

Give low income earners more money, demand increases, creating more jobs and more profit – an upward spiral instead of the depths to which Hockey would like to send us (aside from a few polaris missiles like Gina and Twiggy).

$1.8 billion is how much we gave up by repealing the changes to the FBT requiring people to justify the business usage of their cars by keeping a logbook for three months once every five years.  Abbott and Hockey would much rather protect tax avoiders than help the poor.  Instead, they want the poor to carry the burden of finding the money to pay for their war games whilst delivering a surplus.

Let’s not forget, in April Tony Abbott decided to spend $12.4 billion ordering 58 more Joint Strike Fighters in addition to the 14 already on order.  The first Joint Strike Fighters will arrive in Australia in 2018 and enter service in 2020.

As part of the announcement, more than $1.6 billion will be spent on new facilities at air bases in Williamtown in New South Wales and Tindal in the Northern Territory.

But a specialist in US defence strategy has questioned whether Australia’s purchase is good value for money.

If Australia wants to be able to have aircraft that can go up against what China might deploy – in way of not only its own fighters but advanced air defences in years and decades [to come] – then I think you want something… like the F-35.

[But] if you think more about your military needs being the Afghanistan-style operations, the troubled waters of the South China Sea, counter-piracy, peace operations, keeping some degree of regional calm with some turbulence in the ASEAN region but not necessarily China, then frankly it’s a debatable proposition whether the F-35 is the best bang for your buck.

“If you think that that kind of high-end threat is not realistically where you’re headed with your military requirements, then it’s more of a debatable proposition.

In August, defence minister David Johnstone announced

HUNDREDS of millions of dollars will be spent bolstering the RAAF’s fleet — and the prime minister is in line for a new long-range jet, promising uninterrupted global travel.

The government plan — scheduled to be delivered as part of next year’s Defence White Paper — includes the purchase of up to four new aircraft: an additional two Airbus tanker-transport planes and one or two Boeing C-17 heavy lift aircraft.

One of the Airbus KC-30A multi-role tanker transports would be converted to a VIP configuration and would service the prime minister’s international travel needs.

It would carry the PM’s entourage and the travelling media pack, who are currently forced on to commercial planes as the government’s existing Boeing 737 BBJs are too small.

Since handing down its budget in May, the Government has given national security agencies an extra $630 million over four years.

The Government has also estimated that the military deployment to the Middle East will cost about $500 million per year.

Then we have submarines and unmanned drones and patrol boats and more – a seemingly endless display of military hardware – but we ask our defence personnel to take a pay cut.

I await Joe Hockey’s MYEFO with a sense of anticipation and trepidation.  Will the poor be asked to shoulder more of the burden or will Joe admit where the big bucks are to be found and have the guts to go after them?