tv Q A CSPAN April 22, 2013 5:50am-6:51am EDT
>> today the senate judiciary committee holds second hearing on immigration and from so- called gang of eight. witnesses will crude -clude boocacgroups. it begins at 10:00 eastern on c- span. next, "two and a cause quote of .he washington post -- "q&a" >> this week on "q&a," rajiv chandrasekaran discusses his story describing the f-35 fighter jet, the defense department's newest and most expensive weapon system.
>> rajiv chandrasekaran, you did a front-page piece on a sunday a-3 what is it? >> it is the most expensive weapons system in the history of the united states. history of mankind, quite frankly. it is an advanced warplane that is to be used by the air force, navy, and the marine corps. it is the replacement for the f-16. purposedvanced all- fighter jet. it is still in development, is an incredibly troubled program, it has gone tens of billions of dollars over budget. i bought into this program as a way to write about the overall challenges.
of trimming the defense budget. this program is singular in terms of its cost overruns, delays, and the way it has been ured. its most effective attributes are not all of its radars and sensors and missiles and stealth technology and the ability to fight at supersonic speeds. it may well be the way it has been designed to evade budget cutters in washington. >> what is the difference between the f-35 and the f-22? >> the f-22 has had its share of technical troubles. that was supposed to be the high-end fighter. the replacement for the f-15. it is a real high performance fighter. it is meant to win against any potential adversary in
dogfights. the plan was to have fewer f-22 and then you would have more of the f-35. that would be the mainstay, for the next 40 or 50 years. a you are fighting against sophisticated adve the f- 22s are going in and they are fighting in the air against the adversaries of combat aircraft. the f-35s comes in and they are carrying the bombs that will take out the other military targets. they are the second waves that come in to do the real heavy lifting. these are planes that are supposed to be all purpose.
the f-35 is supposed to be able to provide support to combat troops on the ground if they're fighting and some african nation. -- in some african nation. they're supposed to be le to provide a degree of aerial reconnaissance in other parts of the world. this was supposed to be -- if the f-22 was going to be the cadillac in the skies for the air force, the f-35 was supposed to be the chevrolet. >> the f-22 stopped at 187 airplanes. why? >> because of the engineering challenges, because of costs, the pentagon and congress decided to do was to say, we cannot afford to build as many of these as we want. the overall buy from.
-- shrunk. the overall cost, it is not that much lower. what you have, but the real tragedy is that the cost per plane is much greater than what was supposed to be. >> $400 million a plane. let's run some video. this is from the lockheed martin website. we have kept it just does we saw on the website. this is so we can see what it looks like and how lockheed promotes it to the public. >> ♪ ♪ [video clip]
very well produced ad that helps to -- there is a "top gun" element to this. we should have these. lockheed martin is the principal contractor building nests. -- building best. >> how do they compared to other contractors? >> there are the largest contractor. they build a whole host of weapon systems, they do a lot of work for the military, classified work. the biggest part of their business is providing hardware and other services to the defense department. >> if i read it right, it is run by a woman.
>> a number of our largest defense contractors are run by women. happened. >> it was fortuitous in some of these other firms. the rise of female executives has been occurring over time. at some of the nation's largest defense contractors. it shows just how women are breaking through the glass ceiling in a field that has been dominated by men. >> when you set out to do this article, where did you start? >> i started by reaching out to some friends in the u.s. marine corps because i knew they were invested in the f-35. the f-35 is supposed to replace
every marine combat airplane that they have. i spent a lot of time with marines in afghanistan. i want to learn more about this. in those initial conversations that led me to reach out to more people, to critics on the outside, but to folks at the air force, navy, to really borrow into this. ist i learned very quickly that this is a very complex program with a very troubled history and it was not something i would understand overnight. i spent weeks and weeks. >> when did you start it? >> i started in the fall. i was distracted by of some other things, not the least of which was the resignation of david petraeus. i came back to it earlier this year in large part -- in the wee it became clear thatr
were goi g oo t sequestration cliff, andssues of the future of the defense budgets, the scope and scale of its work coming to the floor, it took on -- the story of the troubles, the story of the giant costs is not new. esteemedof my colleagues in the press corps have written about it in recent years. to me, all of this needed to be set in the debate that is now in washington about the federal budget. examinet, if i could this program through the lens ofudget cutting that would be
a new way to look at this and it might tell us we did not already know. >> i want to put on the screen a slight from your article. 2001, 2852 planes for $233 billion. move ahead 12 years, the pentagon plan is 2443 plants, and $397.1 billion. the design and production, $84 billion has already been spent. what happened? >> the price has almost doubled. we are getting fewer planes for much money. we have spent an enormous amount of money and the plane is only about 17% tested.
ten.software code is to the marine version still having engineering challenges. what that slide tells you is the sheer amount of money -- the growth of this program in terms of the initial estimate was so different from the reality. this reflects the technical challenges. what critics will tell you is that this is a program that has run amok. it has run aground. it has run out of control.
they are amphibious assault ships. where they can fly planes like that and helicopters. the marines want to continue to have fixed wing combat aircraft and fly them off of those. if we have a plane that can do that, that douhe nation's carrier fleet the navy has 11 full-length aircraft carriers. you could put the ships in other parts of the world or if you were fighting a war can in a broader array and have those ships serve as platforms to both launched those sorts of plans and bring them home. it is worth noting that version of the airplane is the costliest and most troubled one. the challenge of taking this fighter jet and getting it to land and take off like a
helicopter. even the massive engineering accomplishment, there is still a lot of kinks to be worked out. has getting to that point involved billions and blion of dollars of design work. >> when did the f-35 planning process started? >> the program itself began in 2001. planning for began years before that. the revision was going to be a noble one. an idea that you build one aircraft and it would be used by three different services, at the air force, the marines, and the navy. air force planes could fly with navy planes, they would be able to talk to each other. that did not happen. in part because the services decided to -- the navy wanted
theirs to fly off the carriers. andmarines want to go up down like this. the air force one of the plans to be stealthy, to fly longer you have these requirements that started to make each of the three versions more and more different. what was supposed to be an airplane that would have 70% similarity between the three versions now is about 70% different. that has been a big factor that has led to the increase in costs. >> chairman of the armed services committee is not going to run again, we see a lot of them on this network. here he is talking about the f- 22. let's listen to his attitude about that a few years ago. [video clip] >> this debate is not about whether or not we will have the
capability of the f-22. about how many we should have and what cost. we are talking about whether or not we should accept the recommendations of two commanders in chief, two secretaries of defense, two chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, 187 f-22s is what we need and all that we can afford. who was pushing for more f-22s? >> members of congress from states where those planes are produced. and where lockheed martin has some of its largest business interests as well as some of the key contractors. >> 45 states have something to do with the f-35. i was on there website yesterday and it is up to 47. what is going on?
>> critics call this political engineering. try to distribute as broadly as you can around the country so that you spread the employment around i knew when banks -- you win support of members of congress from around the country so that it is not just this helps texas or georgia or california, virginia. but you get to smaller states, too, to help win new friends on capitol hill. >> the list of the states and how much money they get for the employed. california is number 1 with 27,000 jobs. not sure why texas has 41,000 with only $4.9 billion. havean see which states the most jobs at of all this. the chairman of the armed
services committee is from california. we have a top 15. almost 1000 jobs at least. georgia, indiana, michigan, utah, vermont, washington. >> lockheed martin would argue that it is only for official suppliers around the country. those who are critical would say they are actively trying to spread it around and there is no reason to do it other than to try to win political support. the bulk of the plane is built in texas and california. that is where the real work is being done. there is a benefit to having -- even a few dozen jobs in a small state, it is a way into trying to convince those members
have some losses when you go into operation, we will send lower tactic place to do these bombing runs. he is convinced the f-35 will become a superar in the arsenal of the united states. >> why i thought this was interesting is because it speaks to the approach the air force is taking to aerial warfare. instead of saying, like the infantry in the army, that you will have some losses when you go into an operation. we will send planes to do some of these bombing runs. we may lose some of them. the air force wants to establish air superiority right away, like we did in the first goal for. and wants to get to a zero pilot loss standard for some of these conflicts. it wants to put in more and more enhancements, and that costs money. to try to make the planes faster, to evade enemy fire. what you get are more expensive planes. >> who did you try to talk to who would not talk to you?
anybody like donald rumsfeld or others? >> i stayed away from the senior most political leadership because their positions are pretty well known. what i wanted to do was to reach out to the three services and say, in an environment of a constricting budget, why do you want to spend some much money on this? i reached out to the pentagon office that is managing the prograto understand what they were doing to fix this program. and then to people outside the military to get their perspective. >> how cooperative was lockheed martin? >> they were pretty cooperative. they made some of their executives available to me for interviews. they got me to sit in a flight simulator. just across the river in crystal city, virginia, not more
than a 10-minute car ride from capitol hill, as part of their flight simulator center, it is a place where members of congress and their staff members and other government officials can go. it is a chance to show off the virtues of the airplane to the washington crowd. i did travel down to an air force base in florida to see the plane in action. on the florida panhandle in pensacola. >> is there a prison down there? >> good question. >>some watergate figures are in a prison down there. >> i tried to stay away from prison. >> sunday, march 10, was when this article was published. where were you not allowed to go?
>> there are a lot of classified features on this airplane. it has a lot of electc warfare capabilities. it has a lot of really high- tech sensors that are able to the backing up data, see what is on the ground from a distance and crunch it all through computing technology. there is a lot of capabilities to this airplane that the military and lockheed martin could not talk to me about. finisheshe f-35 testing, there will be no yes or no, up or down decisions. that is totally deliberate, it was all in the name of ensuring it could not be cancelled. isit speaks to what i think
the most rem which this program was designed. it helps evade budget cutters on capitol hill. normally you would think when you are designing an airplane, you build a prototype. you kick the tires. and then you decide, i will build it. there is no prototype for the half-35. while we are still designing his plane, while millions of lines of software still have to be written, lockheed martin has been authorized by the pentagon and paid to begin production of these planes. lockheed barton has built 65 of them for the military. it is only 17% tested. by the time the plane is fully tested in 2017, according to
defense department estimates, weill have 365 othem. all the planes being built, but it cost money to go back and retrofit them. by the time is fully tested, may be and has too many flaws, there will be so many of them, it will not make sense to cancel the program. you are over a barrel because you already made that investment. >> here is some video of the air force you talked about. here is the f-35 air force version. [video clip] >> ♪
♪ >> f-35 airforce version, what is the difference between the f- 15 and the f-16? >> it is stealthy. you do not see bombs and missiles hanging off of it. they're all in a weapons buy underneath. it allows the plane to be more effectively to evade enemy radar. the plane is supersonic, like the f15 and f-16. you is most remarkable is what the cockpit looks like. if you have been in a
commercial jet, switches everywhere. it cockpit of the f-35, looks futuristic and it looks like a cessna aircraft. it has these touchscreens -- this place that you can touch with your fingertip to execute demands. it has a control stick and a couple of other switches, but that is it. it has fewer than two dozen switches. it is all computerized. it's incredibly futuristic. i was asking a lockheed martin official, how do pilots adapt to this? >> for the older guys is a lot tougher.
you have the ipad generation. if you walk to identify or hits a target, you are looking at the video display. howplane knows and computes to hit it. >> who are we worried about? lockheedse department, martin, would say there are a big nation states out there who still have sophisticated air forces. nameso not take off specifically, but all of us know they're referring to countries like china -- which is continuing to build its their capabilities. >> same level? >> no. this is a generation more dance than anything else. -- more advanced than anything else. thin thedepament very we
they watch something far more advanced. people you are concerned about cost say, but do you really need something the sophisticated? do you need this many of them? could you not achieve some of this more efficiently? they also argue that advancements and unmans andanaviation technolo picressing so fast that 10 years from now, some of the staff may be obsolete because we will be doing a lot more of its with unmanned technology. >> more political examples of this, this goes back to december 5, 2011, senator john mccain. [video clip] >> in a nutshell, the program has been both a scandal in a tragedy. the program has been in development phase for 10 years. over that time, it has been a beneficiary of $56 billion of taxpayer investment.
we still do not have an that provides the air force, navy, marine corps with the combat capability they need. >> wt happs after that? the u.s. marine corps, the most politically adept of all the services, decides to station the first operational squads of f-35s. they are not really operating yet. they invite john mccain. they will build it in yuma, arizona. it might be good to read what he has to say when he comes to that ceremony. it is very different than what he said on the floor of the senate. >> this is a long article and i cannot get my finger on it.
>> he strikes a far more conciliatory tone. he is far less critical of the program. attitude? >> it smpt -- for his state. with the marines bringing the squadron, that will bring jobs. >> in your article, you quote an electrical engineer who worked as a manager beginning in 2001 said the development effort was beset with tremendous organizational inadequacies. why, after all these years would they be in this type of position?
attentionwas paying in washington. this program kicks off in 2001. what happens this year? the war in afghanistan. the leadership of the penta s so cmeho they never paid attention to weapons procurement programs. at least weapons programs that are not directly related to the ongoing wars. as this program was having these are the troubles, there was no adult leadership at the pentagon. lockheed martin, this mismanagement my source talks about, it was not worried at that point of the pentagon watching.
>> this is only a 30-second clip. larsen.congressman john he is talking about anotherthis was back in 2010. [video clip] >> all across america, families are tightening their belts, making good with less. they expect the same from congress. i imagine their frustration when they hear congress is pushing forward with an unnecessary $3 billion program. only in washington could a company that lost competition in the private sector and already controls 88% of the military come seeking a government directed subsidy and call that competition. >> what is he talking about? >> the alternative engine.
for years, another reason why people work has focused on the bigger problems with the airplane, compress was trying -- congress was trying to push on to push on to the defense department's and another engine for his plane. the engine for the aircraft that the pentagon wanted is being built bytt. some members of congress were pushing a second engine built by the rival contractor in large part because of political hope among some that it would lead to jobs in their states. it was a classic case of congress foisting on the defense department something it did not want to add it to another $3 billion. it was a double sideshow and
distracted from some of the greater problems and challenges. >> does any other country in the world have this set up? >> no. no other country spends nearly what we do on this. >> is it good or bad that congress -- nvold? >> it is hopeful that congress acts as a check on some of these runaway programs. in many cases, congresis trying to push the pentagon to do it staff that it does not want to do. members of congress wanted for their own interest. we continue to build tanks in ohio. why do we do that? members of the ohio delegation want the jobs. the army does not think it needs any more tanks. >> there is a quote in your article about the marine corps's ability to get what it
wants. i think it is an army officer. >> why does the navy army need its own air force? the answer goes back to world war ii. the marine corps felt abandoned on the pacific islands. since then, they have insisted on bringing their own combat aviation to fight. if you look at iraq and afghanistan, there were persistent on bringing their own helicopters, their own jets. the marines, their desire to bring their own aircraft, going to part of the country that was far less significant than where
they should have gone. it is that same thinking that drives the marines to want the f-35. we need to have the same kind of combat aviation gear force on the marines do. do they really? the marine corps really need to be able to participate in the first strike attack? those of the fundamental questions that members of congress do not really talk about when it comes to looking at programs like this. ofhas the navy landed one these f-35 carriers yet? >> no. never actual plane is seen with the arresting gear.
[video clip] ♪ ♪ >> that is from the lockheed martin website. >> that is a navy craft taking off from terra firma. >> they have not designed the appropriate -- it is complex engineering, but to be able to catch the arresting wires. they hoped mr. be of sufficient length so does not belts back up. needs to be of
sufficient length so it does not balance back up. the way the plane is designed, the hook has to be far from the back and that creates its own set of challenges. this is what happens when you try to build one size fits all. it becomes much harder to meet these requirements. >> i want to put back on the screen the slide that shows the amount of money and the number of planes that will be spent. s for $233 billion. ton they give the cost anybody, the pentagon, lockheed martin, do they put in the cost of the research and development? >> in this phase, yes. that is part of it. when they move beyond the
design phase, that does not become fact. thisat is the cost of airplane now? >> $160 million apiece. >> what will be in a few years? $100 will drop to around billion. . they claim the $100 million, pardon me. those are operational targets. >> that is what is driving the navy. to reexamine whether it wants to buy as many f-35s as it has committed to or whether it can get away with the advanced f-18 for the moment. and the wait for an additional kuster advancements in unmanned
technology and maybe gets out entirely -- or buy fewer of them. >> with a military contract, how much would they have to pay lockheed martin? >> they have to pay some sort of penalty. it would be a fraction of what they're planning to spend on these planes. >> you read the editor-in-chief of the "stanford daily." i want to take a break to get some background. i want to show you an appearance that you had on this network back in 1998. [video clip] >> what we are seeing in the internet is so young and it is emerging so quickly. in the real world, we know there is a different standard for the "national enquirer" than "the new york times."
it is not clear on the internet. a lot of people who were subscribing to a website not known much about it, there is no longstanding reputation. >> what were you doing back then? >> a lot of gray hair between then and now. >>hais what i wanted tet to, you have been at "the post" for 19 years. on much time have you spent the military? >> the best part of the last decade. i was a foreign correspondent in southeast asia when 9/11 occurred. i quickly turned into a war correspondent. i was in pakistan a couple of days after 9/11 and eventually into afghanistan.
the following summer, i moved to the middle east. i started going into iraq. i spent the following two years running our bureau in baghdad. booke back to write a about the iraq war. i did some management jobs at the newspaper. managing in the news room -- after my stint in management, there was nothing i wanted to do more than run off to anotheri covered the war in afghanistan. 2005 and until last year. split in my time between washington, d.c., and afghanistan. i wrote that book you are holding up. >> you have the hardback version. we have gone through 10 years of the iraq war.
>> the longest war in our nation's history. >> when you look back, did we get our money's worth? >> iraq? iraq, god. the true financial cost, north of a trillion ar lost almost 4500 lives, countless thousands of others wounded. we have a government there that is -- i make no excuses for saddam hussein. we have a government there which is more closely aligned with iran than it is with the united states. we have a fundamental political issue unresolved between the principal groups in iraqi society. all for what?
there were no weapons of mass destruction. the liberation of iraq led to the arab spring. that is a stretch. at that price tag, there is no way it was worth more than a trillion dollars and as many lives as it co. >> you did a piece on march 15. we have to go back. this is a myth. the troop surge succeeded. >> you can bring those principal factions together to force a grand agreement.
you have some longer-term stability. the surge for security, iraqi leaders did not take advantage of that security to force the necessary compact. >> iraq is relatively peaceful. horrendous attacks occur almost daily or weekly. >> iraq is a democracy. >> on paper, it is. but the prime minister is moving to consolidate a lot of power in ways that are disenfranchising political rivals and leading many iraqis to see echoes of saddam hussein. >> will he run again? limitedieve he is term
out. >> iraq is in iran's pocket? >> iraq and iran are very closely allied, but when you look at -- to provide supplies to the syrian dictator basha al-assad, there is one view that he is being forced to do so because the iranian pressure. he has his own reasons to want to have the iranians support assad. if the syrian rebels topple the government in damascus, they will work in concert with iraq's minority population to further destabilize his government. >> your final myth is the americans have already left. >> we have hundreds of personnel there.
there is an american presence in iraq. >> your personal reaction to general petraeus's situation when he had to leave the cia and stanley mcchrystal when he had to leave his post. what was your personal reaction? >> i was surprised by both. petraeus, a man who preaches great virtue. talk a lot about the importance of character. it was not something i expected. i am not the only one among the people who knew him to have been deeply surprised and saddened by that. mcchrystal, i spent a lot of time with him.
i am not trying to say that did not happen, i was surprised his public affairs officer would not such partic grounrulesith to was surprised that he did not give a good spanking. he did not get a good spanking. instead, the president accepted his offer of resignation. >> when he wrote his book, he never named michael hastings. was that a smart thing to do? he never really explained himself. >> i would have liked to have seen more. this is a defining moment in his career.
forced out of the army. he deserved more than a page and a half in a book. it has led him to a remarkable career in transition where he is teaching at yale university. he is open up a consulting firm that is doing work. he has not gone away, he is a brilliant guy and a very capable leader. i would have liked to have seen him talk a little bit more about some of the lessons he has taken away. piece, to your march 10 "too big to bail."
did you meet him? >> that was at another base in maryland where our photographer went to go take pictures. >> this is lindsey graham on the floor. [video clip] going air force, are we to have enough airplanes? what happens to the f-35? >> it depends on what the top line is going forward. goest's say sequestration into effect. it will be hard to modernize. >> it will be impossible to modernize. >> would that make it more difficult to go into a situation? >> yes, sir. >> senator is still in the air force? >> reservist. >> what was going on? >> he was talking about the impacts of sequestration on the
f-35 program. initially, it is not having much of an impact. the bigger questiot would happen if further rounds of cuts take place. that discussion really avoids the central issue, which is how many planes do they need? how many can the united states afford? >> you are making too much noise with your paper. it is a big spread, inside two full pages. a journalism question. how hard is it today with the shrinking size of newspapers to get this story in a newspaper? was.
when you have a story that is important, when it touches upon key issues in washington, and when you can tell it in a compelling way, i can still build the necessary support. they're committed to doing this sort of work. >> what kind of reaction did you get? >> phenomenal reaction. from people within the military, people in the political leadership of our government, it got a lot of traction. it is not a brand new story, it has just been told in a different way. at this moment, it was something to help clarify. >> i want to read this paragraph.
what happened to those states? two more states have been added. did they study that and do that on purpose? >> the company would deny it, but critics say, they are looking for how to spread that wealth as broadly as possible. it is not just u.s. states. they are suppliers around the world. countriesy different will buy this aircraft? >> eight countries. the hope is they will sell it to more. some of those countries have not just committed, they have invested money upfront. this is another barrier to
cutting because the united states buys fewer of these airplanes, it drives up the nellie there is a potential diplomatic cost. let's say the united states buys 500. that raises the cost for britain, which is counting on the f-35 to replace all of its jets on its aircraft carriers. it is like the marine version of the f-35. it is not nearly as sophisticated. >> i wrote down a bunch of countries. britain, italy, norway, canada, australia. when you look back at this -- what would be a follow- up? where will people be able to go to find more information? >> that is a very good question.
be done by the government accountability office and the cbo. they have written some very good reports, some of the best has been done by those organizations. if you want to delve into this, do a google search for the f-35 and gao. >> what is a follow-up for you? >> i am looking at some other military budget issues. it is important to look at some of the trade-offs. as we go forward, what can we afford? nationalmportant for defense? what are the sorts of things we waste money on? >> who were you writing for? how did you appeal to them?
>> i tried to make the plane the central character. stories about military procurement, budget issues, they are complex, hard to understand, filled with jargon. i tried to step back and say, how can i tell this in a way that will be engaging to people? the way to do this would be to focus on p >> two books you've got out. thank you very much for joining us. >> great to talk to you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> for a dvd copy -
academy in fort lauderdale, florida and the second prize winner in this year's competition. [video clip] >> i think education in america may be in a crisis. >> what about education in the united states? is that going in the right direction? >> no, that is a very tough problem. ofin the graduating class 2012, test scores fell in two of the three sections. reading drop to the lowest level in four decades. are in ourdren who school today will be the first generation of children who are less educated than their parents. like the secret ingredient that makes america special. freedom is what america is
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