Pilots, maintainers and support personnel from the active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings and 12 F-35A Lightning II jets will travel to Kadena Air Base for six months as part of the U.S.’s ongoing security presence in the area, known as a theater security package. This is the second deployment of the F-35As stationed at Hill AFB, following a short show of force in RAF Lakenheath earlier this year.
Consider the following questions:
- How does a NATO country, like Belgium or Spain, raise its defense spending rapidly over the short term (i.e. 4 years) without incurring the risk associated with research and development or costs associated with increased manpower?
- How does a businessman-turned-politician drive down the costs of a weapon's program whose costs are "out of control?"
- How does one make good on promises to "bring manufacturing jobs back home?" to appease Economic Security voters?
- How does an administration, in dire need of showing strength against a country who allegedly helped it get elected do so without leading to an accidental international incident?
The answer to all of these is through Foreign Military Sales; the one thing that the U.S. government has been decidedly good at over the last several decades. Currently, the most prolific export of the U.S. military sale market is the F-35 and it has been catapulted into the limelight as a cornerstone in the next Cold War.
If you and I are close on social media, or real life, you probably knew that I took two and a half months off this year to attend Officer Training School (OTS) in order to pursue my commission in the Air National Guard. The whole endeavor was fairly intense, so blogging about it in its entirety would be virtually impossible, but I want to highlight a few aspects that I think will be worth remembering throughout the rest of my career.