Tag Archives: Lockheed Martin

As perception becomes awareness

That is the stage we often face, we perceive we acknowledge, we become aware and that awareness becomes the reality we face towards the new reality we did not comprehend before. It is usually not that great a path to be on, especially when you see that the path you are on has a distinct route taking you to exactly the place no one wanted you to be.

Yet for the CAAT (Campaign against the Arms Trade), especially Andrew Smith, and optionally both Martin Chamberlain QC and Liam Fox as well. It is important to see that these people are not evil, they are not delusional and they are not entirely wrong, yet the reality that was given by CNBC half a day after my article ‘When the joke is on us all‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/04/07/when-the-joke-is-on-us-all/) is now entering a new dimension. As CNBC gives us ‘Russian expansion in the Middle East is a ‘clear reality on the ground,’ WEF president says‘, we are also given: “Moscow has signed technical agreements and memoranda of understanding to sell its S-400 and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar“, there is now optional noise that this could include a nice batch of shiny new MIG’s, as well as a few other items where we see that the UK is soon to lose the option to make £5 billion for its treasury giving the BAE Systems now headaches to content with. Anything that is related or connected to the UK facilitating to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia could optionally not happen, or will be receiving the standard ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you‘ status. Isn’t ideology great?

We might all (including me) accept the quote: “There is “overwhelming evidence” of violations of human rights law by both the Saudi-led coalition and other forces in Yemen, lawyers for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) told the court on Tuesday.” Most will be forgetting that to all interpretation, the Houthi forces are terrorist forces. Their connection with Hezbollah and Iran is not enough, the short and sweet is that they were not an elected government, they merely moved towards a coup d’état and instigated the war we see now.

So there we are, I now have to talk to the United Aircraft Corporation, owned and founded by Vladimir Putin and the parent organisation of the makers of the MIG, so as I try to get a meeting with the ‘Pоссийская Самолетостроительная Корпорация‘, on being their new exclusive contact for sales to Saudi Arabia (yes, I know, I have no chance in hell there, but I remain an eternal optimist), we see on how the high nosed ideologists are costing the UK billions, all that whilst the opposite of what the Saudi coalition is facing has been ignored or trivialised by a lot of people. You merely have to see what you can on Al-Manar (Lebanese satellite television station affiliated with Hezbollah, broadcasting from Beirut, Lebanon) to realise that Hezbollah is still a player there, it is less visible when it comes to Iran, Iran is playing the field low key and on what some call the down low. Even as the evidence is clear that Houthi forces have Iran drones, the way they got them remains unclear, speculated, but not proven and that too must be noted.

Yet in this era, and under these settings we now see that due to the CAAT, the UK will lose more footing and will have less of a voice at the grown up table that is trying to resolve the issues in Yemen. In the end the CAAT achieved nothing but the dwindling revenue stream for the UK, yet the Russian Federation will be grateful and if I get the job, I will send a huge hamper to the three parties involved (after my first bonus payment that is), the voice makers so to say.

This is the setting that governments and large corporations created form 2004 onwards, we all might have a huge national pride, but in the end, we need to sell, we need to make the cash that is required for rent and food and those in a stage where they set high moral borders in places where the impact is actually zero, you have no value, you have no gain, you merely end up with unpaid bills.

Now if governments had done something about the FAANG group 15 years ago, it would be different, but that is not the case, that is not the reality we face. You see, the fighters are just the start, as we enabled the Russians to get a foot in the door, they now have a direct path to both Syria (they already had options there) as well as Saudi Arabia (and optionally Qatar) to start deploying (read selling and training) these nations on the Altius-M drone. Especially in places where the price of a fighter is basically the same as three drones, drones will be the path many nations go and even as the America Predator looks leaner and meaner, the acts of US Congress as well as that from UK Parliament is now opening the doors for Russia, which is not a good thing (except if I get the job, it will be awesome at that point).

It goes from Bad to worse, especially for America. You see, the MIG-35 and the Altius-M are merely the start. In the end, the gold is found (for Russia that is) with the Sukhoi Su-57, I know little about that plane, yet the stories that it can outperform the F-35 are from sources that are not to be ignored, so even when we hear that the US has plans to counter that, in light of their failed USS Zumwalt comedy caper, those plans can be sneered at until they prove to work. And in the end it is almost as simple as: “Do you want this flag to be on a British, American, or Russian product?

This all matters!

You see, the arms race is important not because they are weapons, but because the economies get huge incentives through those commercialised items. The fact that at present 6 nations are on the list for that new gadget and in light of the high winded American response in the past on who was allowed to buy a F-22 Raptor and it was vetting its allies in a crazy way. Now, in all truth there might be a case for that (I honestly cannot tell), but now that we see that Russia is willing to sell to sovereign states and they have no bar, whilst we see the unconfirmed part of: “State-run Chinese media is claiming that the People’s Liberation Army has been able to track the U.S. Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor” implies that the stealth part is less stealthy than we thought it was, and any evidence will drive sales towards Russia too. All parts that had much less chance of happening as the UK systems were proven, they were great and now, or optionally soon, we get the resolution that sales to Saudi Arabia are off. Whether that is right or wrong is not for me to decide, but the fact that the £5 billion loss of revenue is triggering a $12 billion shift in other directions, optionally towards Russia is a part that most ignored to the larger extent, a sales path denied because people forgot that in any war, especially against terrorist forces, the people will always be in the middle. Oh, and if you think that it is all bad, consider that the makers of the F-22 Raptor (Lockheed Martin) also has other paths, so the F-22 profits also forges upgrades and new options in commercial flying, cyber solutions, Radar solutions, Communication platforms and a lot more, in that we see BAE Systems that has services in finance, Cyber security, Compliance solutions and a lot more. Now, the one sale towards Saudi Arabia might not impact it to the largest degree, but a change has been made and the competitors now get a larger slice to play with, and it can lead to additional repeat business, it is not a secret, it is not even an unknown, any person with a decent knowledge in Business Intelligence could have told you that and there is the problem, the one-sided ideology of CAAT is now optionally going to cost the UK a lot more than anyone bargained for.

As I said, I have nothing against ideologists and ideology is great when it can to some degree adhere to commercial reality, and selling to a sovereign nation is intelligent and common sense packaged together, yet when soft-hearted people overreact on events in Yemen, whilst the stage comes from Iranian funded terrorism, how can we go against that? The fact that 16 million Yemeni’s are in danger form several sides (disease and famine) whilst the Houthi terrorists are depriving these people of food, whilst they do everything to stop humanitarian aid via Hodeida and other places, are we not buttering the bread of terrorists?

How can you sleep knowing that this is happening?

BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and United Aircraft Corporation are not evil, they are not a danger, they sell to governments and all three want to sell to the same governments making this a buyers’ market. The moment you forgot about that part of the equation, that did not make you an ideologist, it made you short sighted and that is my largest concern on CAAT, the fact they are needlessly depriving the UK government of treasury income, yet speaking for selfishly coated me, if it pays my bills, I am all fine with that in the end.

 

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What possessed them?

The LA Times brought us the article ‘The Navy’s newest destroyer, the Michael Monsoor, is as much an experiment as a ship-killer‘ (at https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-michael-monsoor-zumwalt-20190126-story.html) a few days ago. My personal view is that it is the ugliest vessel I have so far ever seen. Now, for a functioning being pretty, pleasing or even appealing is not a requirement. It needs to be the killer that scares every other killer and even there it falls a little flat.

The initial consideration for laughter is seen when we consider the line “In the end, what was once intended to be a class of 32 destroyers will now be only three — making for a per-ship cost of about $4.4 billion, according to a December 2016 estimate by the Government Accountability Office, the most recent cost estimate available. Including development costs, that number balloons to $8.2 billion, the GAO said“, so basically the US gets three dinghies for a mere twenty four billion dollars (aka $24,000,000,000), or twenty four thousand million

Three mechanical driven rowboats that amounts to one third of the entire US national budget on education, how perverse is that? Well, it is their tight to choose of course. Yet when we learn that “Despite the higher price, the two advanced gun systems have no ammunition, cancelled because of cost“, a smart bullet system that costs $1,000,000 per round. With the added “The gun’s shells were to be rocket-propelled, guided by GPS and loaded by simply pressing a button“, we are treated to a system that congress will not fuel with ammunition. That is the foundation of a failed and sunk project whilst the vessel is for now still afloat. It was even more fun to learn that optionally the system I designed to sink the Iranian fleet could also be used here, giving us an optional $135,000 solution to drown a $8,300,000,000 mishap, how is that not return on investment? On my side that is!

Do not get me wrong, the US is our ally and I have no such inclinations, my focus was sinking the Iranian ego trippers, I merely found it interesting to know that for a stealth boat, any stealth boat has a similar weakness and mine was set to kick the Iranian dinghies a little, so I take no pleasure that my solution is likely to work there too and it shows the failing of a design and project to be much larger than anyone considered, giving us all a lot more to ponder, because some elements should have been clearly seen on the drawing table and it seemingly was overlooked to such a large extent.

The second part in the mishap is seen when we consider that the design was awarded in 2008, laid down in 2011, launched in 2013, christened in 2014 and repurposed in December 2017 with ‘New Requirements for DDG-1000 Focus on Surface Strike

When USNI News gives us (at https://news.usni.org/2017/12/04/navy-refocus-ddg-1000-surface-strike) “The Navy is revamping the Zumwalt-class destroyer’s requirements and will morph it into a focused surface strike platform, the director of surface warfare (OPNAV N96) told USNI News today” Are you kidding me? After 8 billion and change, a path that spans 10 years (with all the fiasco’s on the internet), we see the calling of ”revamping’ instead of loudly calling the entire Zumwalt class a failure? Did the $1,000,000 per shot not give a clear indication that something extremely weird was afoot? Was there no quality calculation showing us that some implementations were not realistic and that a system like this having a flaw that might be swallowed by a $135,000 could spell a lot of trouble in any direction?

I feel particularly concerned with Rear Adm. Ron Boxall when we see: “I was very pleased with where we came out because some of the decisions were much more about the concept of what we’re getting instead of the actual platform we’re getting“. To him I would go (off course in an informal way) with: “Robby, pal, when the betrothed concept is too far from the begotten actual, we need to consider, ‘product fraud’ (you did not get what you ordered), we can go with ‘failure’ (they did not deliver what was promised) and we certainly need to go with ‘fiasco’ (congress will not allow you to purchase the bullets that the dinghy fires)“, so overall there are three levels of non-success to consider on a whole range of issues that these three puppies have and lets not call them ‘ship-killers’ ever, OK?

And when we see “at the same time look at some of the challenges we’ve had. It’s no surprise, we have some very expensive bills still outstanding with the LRLAP (Long-Range Land-Attack Projectile)” so is that a way to state that invoices were unpaid, or that paid invoices have not met practical delivery? The question is out in the open, because we can go in a few directions. It becomes a larger issue when we see the NY Times Magazine (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/magazine/navy-gunfire-ammunition.html). Here we see: “All three of the failed projectile programs had similar design features and shared a fundamental conceptual problem. “When you try to make a rocket-boosted projectile that can steer itself to a target, you basically have built a guided missile,” said Tony DiGiulian, a retired engineer who has studied all these weapons“, with the added “So why not just build missiles in the first place?” he said. “That’s what you’ll end up with anyway” at the very end, yet leave it to an engineer to apply common sense to an optional working solution. What stopped you guys? Too much outstanding issues with Raytheon and Northrop Grumman? I could have told you that part and I am certain that the navy has scores of common sense people around, still the eight billion was spend and congress will not foot $600 million for a full armory of shells, is anyone surprised?

So not only are we confronted with “the Navy then spent $700 million to have BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin develop the Long Range Land Attack Projectile for the Zumwalt deck gun. It also came to nothing” with an added “rivaling the cost of the Tomahawk cruise missile, which has a 1,000-mile range“. And now we are treated to: “they are evaluating a new shell, called the “hypervelocity projectile,” that is lighter and narrower and could potentially be fired from the upgraded five-inch guns at targets 40 miles away. The program is experimental and in its early stages, and it is unlikely to produce a viable weapon soon“. So not only is the US Navy in a phase where they have nothing, they have been in an 11 year phase of denial and unsupported science fiction ideas that went nowhere with an optional total bill of $256 billion, averted to a mere twenty four billion by scrapping 29 (ugly) vessels.

The fun part is that there was an option to consider, weirdly enough it was not DARPA or the US Navy who came up with the idea; it was film director Jon Favreau who had the brainwave in 2009. Yes, it was a drone used in the movie Iron Man 2. Yet the idea is far less weird and less science fiction then you might think. The air force has its drones, yet the navy could have deployed its own drones, vessel drones are not a myth and even as they are not stealth, they are small enough to get in quick, fire and get out, with a Zumwalt cruiser as a home base. So when we see: “We just doubled the range of our artillery at Yuma Proving Ground,” Gen. John Murray, Commanding General of Army Futures Command, told reporters at the Association of the United States Army Annual Symposium“, we see that the Army has one part of the equation and that droning that solution might have saved the US treasury a few billions. The drones will not endanger manpower, the drones do not required oxygen and can approach submerged and all that at a fraction of the cost, was that so hard to figure out?

Now we get that the brief was never about drones, yet when you try to find a 2010 solution for a 1988 version of smart bullets (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfGnUzGRIuY) we need to consider that someone spending billion to not get there was a terrible idea from the moment the first invoice was paid.

Did I oversimplify the issue?

Let’s also realise that the road to triumph is paved with failures, that makes sense, as not every solution is the breakthrough we aim for, more precisely the failures tend to contribute to future success, yet in this case there seems to have been a lack of common sense on a whole spectrum of issues (or so it seems). And it is there where we see the issue in the larger field, especially with all the failures that seem to define the Zumwalt class, especially as the bulk will be shoved under the carpet through ‘revamping’.

In addition, when we revisit General Murray and consider the quote: “A 70-kilometer target range is, by any estimation, a substantial leap forward for artillery; when GPS guided precision 155mm artillery rounds, such as Excalibur, burst into land combat about ten years ago – its strike range was reported at roughly 30 kilometers. A self-propelled Howitzer able to hit 70-kilometers puts the weapon on par with some of the Army’s advanced land-based rockets – such as its precision-enabled Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System which also reaches 70-kilometers“, what would stop us from adding a drone part in there? Not in the launch, but in the shell itself. Consider the simplicity, when there is one shot, there is a lot less cyber security needed, that whilst the vision for the drone operator is merely the need to adjust the trajectory and there are accurate low expense solutions there. The initial cyber part is not too expensive and merely requires a 240-300 second fail-safe on hacking, there are plenty of solutions there. When we consider that an artillery round could be adjusted, the enemy needs to know the frequency, the codes and the option to interfere, the drone operator might not have to do anything and merely need to lock out changes at some point. An optional 12% increase on a 89% certain hit, making every shot a hit, a better result could not be asked for, so when you consider my ad-hoc idea (open to loads of scrutiny at present), we are still left with the ‘what on earth possessed them in the first place‘, we get it, the defense gravy train is very lucrative, but to revamp the brief on a 24 billion fiasco that was 10 years in the running is taking the mickey out of the entire train ride (staff, fellow travelers and equipment).

War never changes, the technology does but at some point we are confronted with the simplicity of common sense and adjusting the view towards another direction would not have been considered and preferably before the ship was launched might not have been the worst idea. If an optional solution to force a reactor meltdown is seen in a snow globe, what other ideas have not been looked at? Even when we look at it from a complete non-military way, what other options have we never investigated?

It is the same for 5G, when we consider that not the telecom operator but the consumer is at the heart of it all, we see a whole new range of solutions that brings new technologies, and new innovation and they can lead to new services and new foundations of income and profit of course.

 

 

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European Exodus Community

There is a reality that people seem to miss. There is a reality that the people at large have been ignoring for far too long. Big business had been until early this year trivialising the entire Brexit issue. Some started the catchphrase ‘Bremain’, but that went out of fashion fast. At some point, in October 2015 something expected happened. An American opened his mount (in this case Trade representative Michael Froman), which gave the Britons “If you leave EU you face barriers to trading with America“, Is that really so? In my view, if the Democratic Party does not get its A-game in place, many will not want to be in trade with a nation that cannot pay its bill anyway. You see, if Brexit becomes a reality, the Euro will take a sizeable dive, which will also hurt the US Dollar. More important, as the US has not been able to keep any kind of control on their budgeting, the US issue would take additional tumbles. Consider that the US exports $57 billion to the UK, should one direction fall away, than so does the other direction, you see pharmaceuticals can come from India, Vehicles can come from Japan and Medical Technical equipment can come from places like the Netherlands (to some extent). We are looking at an easy 12 billion going somewhere else. So that part is not a given, yes, UK export might have a few hitches, yet when other players are found for at least 20 billion in goods, new arrangements will be an option (very fast), not so much for the US of A.

Yet, I get it. The USA is afraid, very afraid because of what the Euro changes will bring and their fear is escalating. This we get from Euractiv (at https://www.euractiv.com/section/uk-europe/news/majority-of-french-back-holding-frexit-referendum/), who is now proclaiming that “53% of French surveyed would like to hold a referendum on their country’s continued EU membership“, an issue I saw coming a long time ago. i was the first one keeping my eye on this, and even as Hollande and Sarkozy are trying to make other ‘arrangements’ they now realise that non-compliance with the French voters will mean that the bulk will demand Marine Le Pen be elected, another prediction I saw coming. More important, should Brexit be averted, than Frexit still remains a real risk. It implies that American will almost be forced to send their own Al Jolson European Tour 2016-2017, yet unlike Al Jolson, this tour will not be a sell-out success, it will be seen as a painful reminder of America not cleaning ‘house’ in the 2004-2009 era. An era that brought many nations to the edge of despair. Now we see the Obama administration trying the option of Al Jolson singing ‘can I have a little more please‘, an idea many Europeans will regard as offensive. The changes will give additional worry. From one perspective, if the dollar collapses, export from America should go through the roof, but the overly mismanaged economy gives a clear clarion call that the funds to cate to this need would end up being insufficient. The latter part is my own speculation, I have no hard numbers supporting that part. From all the export, one in eight is about machinery. This seems to be a solid one, especially from the excellence in the past, yet in all this we in equal measure ignore that the US is not the only place to get this stuff, so if a part will move to an Asian provider, American wealth numbers will take a sharp dive, all that because Michael Froman seemed to have forgotten that they are not the only player in town.

Yet I digress!

There is now the realistic concern that a European Exodus could hit the community, a real danger, which also means that certain borders will come into a different play. This will impact the USA as well as Europe. Yet instead of a clear summary, the press seems to be throwing too much in the air with emotional plays from both sides of that isle which I consider to be not so productive. We see not so helpful articles by Jane McConnell on ‘why Brexit would be apocalyptic for the games industry‘ with quotes like “British gaming receives a wealth of talent and funding as a result of being in the EU“, which is a joke to say the least. When we see PC Gamer giving us info regarding Ubisoft Montreal “but it was built primarily on the strength of Quebec’s generous subsidies and tax breaks, and with a newly-elected government facing serious debt problems, those breaks are being cut back. That has CEO Yannis Mallat taking another look at the studio’s long-term future“, so that billion Euro firm in France is ‘surviving’ due to tax breaks. (at http://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-ceo-ponders-reductions-to-quebec-tax-breaks/). Now, remember that this article is 2 years old. So basically in the time that Ubisoft created mere mediocrity in gaming. In all that time only the recently released ‘the Division‘ seems to be up to critical scrap. So how about not catering to tax breaks? The final argument “and thanks to the EU working time directive, we are guaranteed 20 days a year of paid annual leave, offering us all us all at least one day we can happily set aside for binge playing. That’s worth remembering“, how interesting that she relies on that part, not on the part of government accountability which is actually driving people away. In addition, remember Markus Persson, simple small software firm in Sweden? It made over 2 billion in the end (from Minecraft). So, let’s not cater to mediocrity! The same issue can be stated for Hello Games. It is about the reset the bar for gaming quality, both small firms, just the two visible in a group of dozens. These tax breaks are there for the small players, but they have been overwhelmingly used by large players to not dig into the ‘quality setting’ frontiers they should have been in.

I feel personally decently certain that Brexit is becoming a reality. If the press would focus on truth and fact, not on emotion to sway the people, there would be a certainty that Brexit will be. It will drive Frexit too. The EEC will become a near death-trap for the last one in, which means that Italy will not be in a happy place between 2017 and 2018. I expect it will drive the membership numbers of Lega Nord with Matteo Salvini, I cannot tell how strong, because I know too little of the other Italian players. Yet in all this, certain other players are rearing its ugly head. You see, when we go back to November 2015 we see a paper by Natixis (at http://cib.natixis.com/flushdoc.aspx?id=88106), there we see “In the worst case scenario, the United Kingdom leaves the EU and does not join the European Free Trade Association; there would then be custom tariffs between the United Kingdom and the EU, but given the size of the trade flows, the impact on the economies would be limited. The United Kingdom has a very small industry and its exports of services, which are very specialised, would probably not be too severely affected“, this is the view I also ‘synched’ to. Basically, the bad sides of the EU towards the UK are massively larger than the good sides. The Natixis paper by Patrick Artus might not be complete, but it gives the goods that matter, from that point of view.

You see, the short-sighted users of a spreadsheet forgot the drive that Brexit could have, the view I predicted already in 2014. In addition, the growth and danger that right parties all over Europe became, fuelling one another is a side I did not see coming either. In addition to that view, we saw in November that Wolf Richter, Wolf Street in Business insider had “A Brexit would be ‘a non-event’“. I wonder where that came from. Oh no, I need not wonder because they mention Natixis and quote the relevant parts.

So what changed?

Well, the part I foresaw and everyone ignored is that Frexit is slowly becoming a reality. Now we have ourselves a lot more than a mere horserace, because this is what Natixis can’t use. It is in massive parts a French conglomerate, not a global one. In that regard Frexit will impact on Natixis as a whole. In this I mean that Natixis will see its profit margins decrease by a fair bit (we are talking a game of billions here), whilst in equal part limit certain economic movements and options. That makes it a different event. And the less we say about the impact on the US the better. Ah, here I am wrong!

You see, Lieutenant general Frederick Benjamin Hodges gives us the following last Tuesday (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-usa-idUSKCN0WH0QJ), we get ‘Brexit would weaken NATO versus Russia‘, which is not entirely correct, is it Freddie? It is not a lie either! The mess seems complicated but it is not. We can agree that the General is under orders here. I reckon massively from his Commander in Chief who dropped the ball several times and is sending the General out into an economic field that is not ‘his’ theatre of war. Here is the part that is unwritten (not by me), whilst everyone was looking at Lehman Brothers and other Wall Street players, they all forgot about Natixis, who has a wealth portfolio that delivers an annual return that outranks more than just a few EU nations. When that limits and dwindles many players will panic, because the survival of some is now depending on continuity. Something that behind the screens of Brexit and Frexit comes to terms. With Brexit there was enough time to make adjustments, with Frexit that time will not be there, apart from the fact that it will force Germany to take a different course (one that is expected, but cannot be predicted). In all this that is only one element. The General is right that NATO will weaken, what is not given is that it will change the expenditure that some nations are making, which will directly hit Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which will now be a sizeable dent in the American economy too. Apart from a collapsing Euro, America will get hit by a double whammy, that part is not given (it is ignored by too many), not shown and not elaborated on. It is how expenditure changes. NATO existed since long before the Euro was a reality, but as those evolutions were taken, by lowering defence spending on a national level in Europe, we see that this ignored cluster will have serious consequences, very much so for the American military hardware industry.

Can I be wrong?

That is what matter, for me as much as for you the reader. We will be depending on two elements, Is Brexit a reality in the first and will it force Frexit in the second. The first is less up in the air, but not a given, in the second, when Brexit happens, Frexit will be a certainty. Even if Brexit does not happen now, the French are worried and they do not want to be the last in the row of decision makers as Italy currently is, the fact that 53% want this referendum is worrying to many players (except for Marine Le Pen). Both Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy cannot ignore the cries of the French, if they do, they will feel the discomfort that Marie Antoinette had on October 16th 1793 (well, one can fantasize, can one not?), because France is for the French (as they see it), not for the Americans. They will come down hard on their government, which is playing perfectly into the hands of Marine Le Pen. No matter what happens, with or without Brexit. Germany cannot sustain the environment without the other three players, which places the UK now in a tactical predicament. Relying on France to keep cool, this is what drives Brexit to additional momentum.

So all this will drive the European Exodus Community, to some extent people, because national business needs the motivated people to get businesses working and moving forward, but for the most it will be about small businesses in a national setting. Those who adapt fast will grow. Larger corporations will feel the disastrous drag of not changing gears, of not adapting to the new environment, mainly because those head offices (many in America and Asia) will not comprehend the old systems that drove them and the changes required to make them. Those depending on decision makers will find that delays will cost increasingly until (often enough) the decision has been made too late. Rowing against the current will be a new slogan that larger players will have to deal with, driving their talents to smaller places where speed is available. This exodus environment will hit in many places, in many layers on several fronts. A front where only the adjusted will make headway. I wonder whether 2018 will be the year of culling the corporate herd. It is too soon to tell, but it will for the most depend on the brethren Brexit and Frexit both leaving this rocky boat called EEC!

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The military Pound

We do not need to look far to see that cut backs are more than just the talk of the town. They have been the talk of nations for a long time, and we have seen more than one system discussed when it comes to the need for overspending.

So, when many read about the fact that the military overspend again we might not have looked to be too overly surprised. It is however the proverbial straw that is breaking the camel’s back. This is what was said on Sky News on Feb 28th “Britain’s Ministry of Defence has been slammed after a report showed between 2009 and 2011 it bought STG 1.5 billion ($A2.24 billion) worth of equipment more than it used.

The article was short, to the point and ended with “The ministry is to introduce controls that it hopes will reduce spending on inventory by STG 500 million a year by 2015.

So, the British consumer will be confronted with taxation on overspending by almost 2 billion until that time? How is that fair. This is not the end of it. There is a lot more. This is the clear part where we are confronted with overspendings; however, there are a few more issues at play.

The New York Times published a story in July 2006 named “Pentagon Struggles With Cost Overruns and Delays“. In this example they went over the costs of the F-22a Raptor. It was a track from 1991 until 2010 that showed a massive amount of overspending. The response as stated in the New York Times was “We must transform the way the department works and what it works on, he said. It could be said that it’s a matter of life and death — ultimately, every American’s.

So was that an answer? It seems not. Because that same story repeats itself when we look at headlines involving the F-35. “$24 billion British budget blow-out in black hole F-35 project“.

It seems that the boys in uniform seem oblivious to words like ‘common sense’, ‘budgets’, ‘overspending’ and you know, words of that general direction. Now I am all for a good defence, yet the parties involved seem to be either completely academically ineffective (incompetent seems too hard a word), or those paying are really lacking a certain level of backbone. Especially when budgets are overstretched the way they are. Am I having a go at the Australian and UK admin soldiers? I am not sure. Who made these decisions? Who allowed for these levels of overspending? These are serious questions that need answers and it needs more then investigation, it requires ACTUAL actions being taken. I am not talking about some political inquest wasting even more time and money. No! Defence needs to take a look at their laundry and fix this. It seems clear and shown that this needs fixing on several levels.

In the meantime solutions must be found, especially when it is clear that almost all parties in the commonwealth have to tighten the belt on budgets all over the place. It seems very unfair that even though the military are to most the visible part to defend a nation, the people placing their lives in harm’s way on a daily basis are having their budgets cut severely.

You know, I have a nice idea, right out of the extreme right field. Lockheed Martin donates 1% of paid costs by the DOD to the Metropolitan police as a show of good faith. Not all will be happy with this idea, but several will be less unhappy and the way the costs are cut especially to the police departments. It seems only fair. Who knows, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe might arrive in the office on a Monday morning holding on to a cheque and wearing a large smile (be not afraid if that happens). The same could be done for the RAAF. I reckon Commissioner Scipione might be happy to know that in the end, overspending almost 30% per F-35 unit (an unacceptable amount of overspending per unit) the police force will get a small shiny future. The other option is for the RAF to order 14 less F-35’s and the RAAF orders 2-3 less and these police departments get those funds directly.

There is however a deeper part to those rumours. Is the F-35 too overpriced and are we moving to a previous model (the F-22)? Even though several sources implied certain noises, there is no real knowledge at present (or better stated, known to me) that this is actually happening. It would be interesting as the NY Times reported that the F-22 had its last delivery in 2010. If so, should we pay full price for a model taken out of production? Would you pay sticker price for a 2010 Toyota? This seems more than a little unfair. Not to mention that we seem to reward/ignore a blatant budget overrun for two planes by the same company. A ‘ploy’ they seem to have handled since 1991. That means they did not seem to have cleaned up their act for two decades.

So we have two issues.

1. Commonwealth armies seem to be overspending by a lot and on needless things.
2. Commonwealth armies are confronted and left with much higher bills by their suppliers.

I am not claiming that the military are doing this on an intentional basis to waste money, but it stands to reason that we should ask questions when the size of the British forces is set around 225,000 and there seems to be an annual overdraft of 800 million dollars. The Australian Defence forces are not without fault either. This was mentioned in an article by the SMH, however I personally thought that this article asked more questions on the numbers they reported, then on the actual issue.

There is another side to this, and this was voiced by President Obama on Feb 19th as mentioned in the Guardian. “Obama warns Congress over spending cuts: ‘People will lose their jobs‘”. This is not an unfair statement. Yet the issue that is not mentioned is that overall, the profit margin for those companies is often a lot larger than most commercial companies seem to be left with, and THAT part seems to have never been curbed. That was illustrated in an article in Aviation week by Joe Anselmo on May 18, 2012. There it was quoted that “A Wall Street research firm says defense contractors should be able to maintain their profit margins even as Pentagon spending declines“. That seems to prove the thoughts that others have as well as myself. So, these are not unique thoughts. These are thoughts that have been in play for a long time, so when we are looking at recessions and budget issues, it seems to me that there is at least one player in town who gets to play with a stacked deck.

I hope the message is getting through. There is a massive amount of needless overspending and there currently seems to be no planned solution to properly curb this enthusiastic method of an open wallet policy.

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