via Defense News.
US Marine Corps finished tests and filled out the paperwork needed to turn the F-35 joint strike fighter into an operational aircraft.Here.
Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for Marine aviation, told reporters Monday that once Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joe Dunford signs off on the paperwork, the F-35B fleet will have achieved initial operational capability (IOC), becoming the first model of the joint strike fighter to become operational.
"[Dunford has] got all the paperwork now. He's going through all that," Davis said. "I would say 'soon' but… he and I talked. He's a busy guy and he's working his way through that right now. I'll tell you we met all of the IOC criteria."
Getting Dunford's signature may take longer than it normally would, as he is currently up for nomination as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is possible the decision could slip to Dunford's nominated successor, Lt. Gen. Robert Neller, although that would be surprising.
Do you sense it? The rush to get this into service? The "damn the law" we'll fix it once we get it attitude? The belief in a weapon system that overrides common sense, demonstrated performance and promises from the manufacturer?
I do and it reeks to high heaven.
I searched for it but my Google-foo is weak today. When the idea of simply declaring IOC before the plane was finished testing was rolled out, it was with baby steps. Yeah, it violated the intent of the law ....THE SPIRIT of the law but not the letter of the law.
Nowhere was it written that a service chief couldn't declare IOC before testing was completed....implied, but not written.
So now they're charging ahead with this. A pencil whip from hell from a substandard underperforming piece of hardware that has effectively wrecked the USMC's budget, destroyed our ground combat power and is set to do more of the same into the foreseeable future.
But now the decision is sitting on the desk of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
How valuable is a leader's integrity? Is it worth more than funding that will come from Lockheed Martin and its band of acolytes? Is it worth having the entire Marine Corps look and wonder?
The F-35 has become about more than the future of Marine Aviation. Its become a matter of trust between leaders and led.
If it fits into MARINE CORPS plans then lay it out. If it will prove to be a combat multiplier then explain in plain terms how.
But no more fuzzy talk. No more pie in the sky wishful thinking.
This has become a matter of trust.
PEOPLE, IDEAS, HARDWARE! Have we really gotten to a point where hardware has become more important---more valued in the Marine Corps than our people?
PS. Yes. I'm violating Commander Salamander's rule for blogging. Never do it when you're mad and pissed. I'm both! One day, hopefully before he retires I need to meet Davis. I need to look that dude in the eye and get a sense of the man.