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National (In)Security

One of the reasons the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor costs some $140 million per plane to build is the United States and the United States alone has this most sophisticated fighter jet in the world. We are not building the Raptor in conjunction with any other nations or foreign-owned companies – and we do not sell Raptors to any other nation, not even our staunchest allies.

However, Obama’s Pentagon recently announced its intention to cancel the Raptor program. Instead of building the number of F-22s the Air Force has said it needs to adequately defend the U.S. against future threats from rogue nations and tyrants, Secretary Gates has proposed shifting the F-22s air supremacy missions over to the less-expensive – though still unbuilt and untested – F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

And one of the reasons the F-35 is less expensive for the U.S. to build is that we are sharing the cost and building them in cooperation with international companies and other nations who will eventually get to buy production copies of the plane.

According to Wikipedia, “While the United States is the primary customer and financial backer (of the F-35), the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark have agreed to contribute $4.375 billion toward the development costs of the program.” In addition, Israel and Singapore are “Security Cooperative Participants.”

So maybe it’s just a coincidence, but with that many non-U.S. cooks stirring the JSF pot does this report this morning by the Wall Street Journal really surprise anyone?

“Computer spies have broken into the Pentagon’s $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project — the Defense Department’s costliest weapons program ever — according to current and former government officials familiar with the attacks. . . . (T)he intruders were able to copy and siphon off several terabytes of data related to design and electronics systems, officials say, potentially making it easier to defend against the craft.”

Lovely. Just lovely. Feeling a little less safe today?