Testing the Impact of Jet Noise on South Burlington School

By Cory Dawson
March 20, 2018

School officials will begin conducting noise pollution tests soon at a South Burlington elementary school that sits about a half mile from Burlington International Airport runways.

For years, teachers, students and staff at Chamberlin School — with 250 students from kindergarten through 5th grade — have endured jet noise from the nearby airport, said South Burlington Superintendent David Young.

“Our teachers often have to just pause for a few minutes, because it’s just difficult to talk over,” Young said. “This is particularly when the F-16s, or prior to that when the F-4s were flying over. It was kind of known as the ‘Chamberlin pause.’”

Young said he has been asking for years to use money from a Federal Aviation Administration grant program that allows for noise insulation for buildings that are affected by high noise levels.


Opponents of the F 35 jet call for an investigation on the Vermont National Guard on “You Can Quote Me”

By Darren Perron
May 20, 2018

Right now on “You Can Quote Me,” opponents of the F 35 jet call for an investigation on the Vermont National Guard.
They’re alleging unethical and possible illegal conduct that resulted in Vermont landing the controversial plane.


F-35 opponents claim basing decision rigged by Vt. National Guard, Leahy

May 18, 2018

Opponents of bringing the F-35 to Burlington are raising new allegations of wrongdoing by the Vermont National Guard and Senator Patrick Leahy. They are demanding a federal probe into what they call unethical, and perhaps illegal conduct, in key decisions to base the fighter jet in Vermont. Both the Guard and Leahy are calling the charges bogus.

Longtime F-35 opponent Rosanne Greco and a group she calls the ‘Search Party,’ claim to have uncovered damning information about the Vermont Guard and Senator Patrick Leahy in 68,000 pages of military correspondence.

“You can see the actual emails and who’s talking to who,” Greco said. “We finally decided if we didn’t go through this, the truth would be buried forever.”

She got the emails after a failed lawsuit to stop the next generation fighter jets from coming to Vermont. Although the suit was unsuccessful, it led to the release of emails between the Guard and the Air Force about the F-35. Greco’s group started to pour over them.


Summary of the Problems with the Burlington F-35 Basing Process

May 25, 2018

The process by which the United States Air Force selected the Vermont Air National Guard Station — co-located with the Burlington International Airport located in South Burlington, Vermont — involved an extensive analysis as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  It also involved highly inappropriate, unethical, and possibly prohibited, activities on the part of the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) and Vermont’s Senator Patrick Leahy including:

  • interference in the process through manipulation of facts and data, such as, (intentional?) scoring errors designed to misrepresent facts on the ground,
  • orchestration of public comments,
  • inappropriate attempts by military personnel to intimidate members of the public, and
  • withholding crucial information that directly affects public safety.
Download full PDF

Air Force Statements Expressing Doubt about Basing F-35As in Burlington

Marek to Faaborg (4-5-10) “Have no comments on the environmental sections for the F-35 three locations. I would question the statement that noise will not be a problem at Burlington, VT. This will be proven by the follow on scoping meetings and public hearings at Burlington. The airport does not have a big land foot print and sensitive receptors are located not far off the airport runway ends. I am not suggesting changing the statements made in this site survey. The EIAP with final EIS will provide the needed inputs for the decision makers.”  #40928

{The following three email exchanges are part of #46447}

Unidentified Sender to Penland (12-10-10) HAHA! But the toughest part of this exercise is for anyone with integrity is that it IS a freakin’ loud aircraft! The only aircraft I have ever flown formation with that I can hear in flight from route position. (Now…forget I said that, and delete this email, and empty your trash. And the double-secret network trash cache, too!)

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Senator Patrick Leahy’s Interference in the F-35 Basing Decision

Cray to Clark (3-12-10) “Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who, as one of the most senior members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and Co-Chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, has led a decades’ long effort to ensure that the Vermont Air National Guard has the finest facilities, equipment, and training, and, in doing so, position Vermont to compete well for this important aspect of our national defense system.”  #40700

Bacon to Blankenship (7-27-10) “I heard from Sen Leahy’s staff today and they are looking at a 9 Aug date to meeting here in DC.  The point of this meeting is to get all players together (Burlington ANG, ACC, and Air Staff) to [sic] all to the personal staffers (JP Dowd and Will Goodman) about noise abatement as it relates to the city of Burlington, VT… Sounds like Burlington already has all the answers.  Pooter has been working this issue for a while.”  #43700

Download full PDF

Quotations from the Administrative Record showing VTANG Interference in the F-35A NEPA Basing Process

Rose to Wright (5-14-10) “We still have time to discuss your concerns regarding the changes since the 2006 Part 150 but just as an FYI, this is the same approach we were going to take with the JAX airport.”  #41588

Clark to Rose and Caputo (5-18-10) “…they are using our operational data from our latest noise study.  We do not want that—correct?  You may have this all under control, just wanted to check.”  #41607

Rose to Clark (5-18-10) “Sir, we are just in the data gathering and review mode.  We will confirm the approach we are taking with you (and get your input) before initiating our evaluations.  Just so you know, we need to be consistent (as much as possible) about how we model the bases and need to be able to justify/tell the story if we decide on different model approaches.”  #41607

Wright to Clark (6-30-10) “I asked Kevin Marek about the profile data used in the VTANG 2005 Noise Data Resource Book (NDRB).  He called the two main contractor POCs who worked on the report and both said the same thing:  that the base provided all of the data and had at least one shot at reviewing a draft document before it went final.  I also called John Ferraro, the former EM, and he recalled the same thing – all data came from the base, and he routed it internally for review.” #42541

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Air Force, state officials stand firm on F-35 basing

By Jasper Craven
June 4, 2018

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has told federal and local leaders that the Vermont Air National Guard has essentially one viable flying mission — the F-35 fighter jet.

Wilson told Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in an interview last month at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that it was “highly likely” Vermont would lose the Guard base if Burlington doesn’t host the F-35.

Shortly after, Wilson reiterated her position in a letter to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.

“If that decision were to be reversed, the Vermont Air National Guard would likely lose their flying mission upon the retirement of the F-16s,” Wilson wrote to Weinberger. “The Air Force is much smaller than it was at the end of the Cold War.


Former Air Force leaders demand probe of ‘unethical’ conduct by Air Guard officials in F-35 basing

By Jasper Craven
May 6 2018

Two retired Air Force officials have called on federal watchdogs to investigate the Vermont Air National Guard over what they allege is unethical and, perhaps, illegal conduct.

Air Force Col. Rosanne Greco, the leader of an activist group that opposes the F-35 fighter jet, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Bourassa, submitted letters to the inspectors general of the Air Force, Department of Defense and Air National Guard demanding investigations into “unprofessional, inappropriate, and possibly illegal conduct of some senior military officers of the Vermont Air National Guard” that appear “to violate military ethics and regulations.”


VTANG Political Engagement

May 24, 2018

Political Participation of Vermont Air National Guard Senior Officers 

MG Cray says “a vote of no” shows support for the Guard (2-9-18)



MG Cray claims ballot item misleads the voters (2-9-18)



BG Clark says their press conference was held because of upcoming vote on ballot measure (3-1-18)



BG Clark says a vote of ‘no’ supports the Vermont Air National Guard (3-3-18)



Vermont Air National Guard gives reporters a tour of base a week before Burlington vote stepping up their outreach efforts.  BG Clark called ballot item “inaccurate” (3-1-18)


Download full PDF

Individuals Involved In the F-35A Basing Discussions

May 25, 2018

Members of the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG)

Ahmann, Michael L – LtCol USAF ANG 158 FW/XP “Torch”

Baczewski, David P – Col USAF ANG 158 FW/CC “Baz”

Caputo, Christopher P – LtCol USAF ANG 158 OSF/CC, F-35 Program Integration Ofc “Pooter”

Clark, Joel A – Col USAF ANG 158 FW/FW

Cray, Steven A – MajGen USAF ANG, Adjutant General, Vermont, ”Wonder”

Dubie, Michael D – MajGen USAF ANG, Adjutant General, Vermont

Fick, Douglas E – Col USAF ANG 158 FW/FW

Finnegan, Daniel P – LtCol USAF ANG 158 MXS/CC “Gump”

Goodrow, Lloyd J – LtCol USAF ANG 158 LRS/LRS

Gookin, Christopher J – CPT USA VTARNG, State Public Affairs Officer

Harder, Henry U – Col USAF ANG “Boneman“

Harris, Richard N – BGen USAF NGVT

Jackman, Thomas W – Col USAF ANG 158 FW/CV

Villemaire, Jason R – Capt USAF ANG 158 CES/CE

Wright, Adam G – Civ USAF ANG 158 MDG/SG, Environmental Manager


Members of the Congressional Delegation and Staffers

Carnes, Alex – Office of U.S.Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont

Copans, Jon  – Office of Representative Peter Welsh, Vermont

Goodman, Will – Legislative Fellow, Office of Senator Patrick Leahy

Leahy, Patrick – United States Senator, Vermont

Sanders, Bernie – United States Senator, Vermont

Tracy, John – Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Vermont

Weinstein, David – Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Vermont, Senior Policy Advisor

Welch, Peter – United States Representative, Vermont

Download full PDF

GAO.gov: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: Development Is Nearly Complete, but Deficiencies Found in Testing Need to Be Resolved

June 5, 2018

DOD is getting closer to completing the F-35 program, but DOD’s plan to move into full-rate production without fixing key deficiencies brings into question the reliability and affordability of the aircraft.

DOD has already requested $9.8 billion for 2019 and will ask for about $10.4 billion more per year over the next two decades.

Congress should consider withholding funding from the next increment of F-35 development until DOD provides an independent cost estimate, a technology assessment, and takes other actions. In addition, we recommended that DOD resolve critical aircraft deficiencies before moving to full-rate production.


Will nukes accompany F-35s to Vermont? No one’s saying

By Jasper Craven
June 3, 2018

In an undated internal analysis of press coverage tied to the proposed basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport, Vermont Air National Guard leaders detailed five potential media questions “We Hope We Don’t Get.”

The first four dreaded questions were often asked throughout the years-long debate over the controversial plane’s basing, and included “Why is the F35A four times louder?” and “Why would you be in favor of bringing a plane here when the Accident Potential Zone extends two miles into Winooski?”

But the fifth and final question is one that has been rarely discussed, and is almost impossible to answer: “Where are you planning on storing the nuclear weapons that are part of the F-35 arsenal?”

Opponents of the F-35 in Burlington have long raised the specter of nuclear weapons coming to Chittenden County along with the F-35, and the plane was designed with nuclear payload capability. In May 2013, when the plane’s opponents asked the Vermont Air Guard about nuclear bombs being based in Burlington, even military officials seemed unsure of the answer.

“We haven’t talked about nuclear capabilities of the F-35A yet so this may take us some time,” wrote an Air Force public affairs officer at the Pentagon to her Vermont counterpart. “We’re asking about it.”


Report finds toxic chemicals at Burlington air base exceed state limits

May 24, 2018

The Air Force has released a report detailing chemical contaminants at the Burlington International Airport above Vermont regulatory limits.

These chemicals were found at multiple locations on the Vermont National Guard installation, but not in the base’s drinking water, or the water supply of nearby communities. Now, the Air Force is continuing the investigation, along with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, to determine the extent of the contamination.


DoD: At least 126 bases report water contaminants linked to cancer, birth defects

By Tara Copp
April 26, 2018

The water at or around at least 126 military installations contains potentially harmful levels of perfluorinated compounds, which have been linked to cancers and developmental delays for fetuses and infants, the Pentagon has found.

In a March report provided to the House Armed Services Committee, the Pentagon for the first time publicly listed the full scope of the known contamination. The Defense Department identified 401 active and Base Closure and Realignment installations in the United States with at least one area where there was a known or suspected release of perfluorinated compounds.

These included 36 sites with drinking water contamination on-base, and more than 90 sites that reported either on-base or off-base drinking water or groundwater contamination, in which the water source tested above the Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate or perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOS and PFOAs.


Pentagon Classifies Study of F-35 Jet’s Challenges in Pacific

By Anthony Capaccio
April 25, 2018

The Pentagon classified an assessment of the major challenges the Marine Corps encountered in deploying the U.S.’s first F-35 jets to the Pacific, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

An unclassified version of the study released on Wednesday suggests the problems with the Lockheed Martin Corp. fighter — which would bolster U.S. capabilities in case of a conflict with North Korea — could be significant, touching on both critical software and supply chain issues.

“While the Marine Corps recognizes the advanced warfighting capabilities the F-35 will bring to the Pacific, it is facing challenges operating in the area,” according to the unclassified version. “In particular, it is uncertain how long the F-35 can effectively operate” if its software-intensive maintenance diagnostic system — critical for keeping the jets flying — “becomes disconnected from the aircraft,” according to the report.


With Older F-35s ‘On Life Support,’ Wing Struggles to Train Pilots

By Oriana Pawlyk
May 7, 2018

One of the busiest F-35 Joint Strike Fighter training units is hoping the U.S. Air Force can help relieve some of the pressures of training student pilots with ineffective resources.

The 33rd Fighter Wing, the leading training wing for F-35 student pilots, hopes it will receive additional F-35A aircraft, along with considerable upgrades to its existing fleet, to keep up with training demands, said Col. Paul Moga, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing here.

“Right now, production is king. We’ve got to find ways to solve this aircrew crisis, and our contribution to that is getting our students through the training program as quickly as possible,” Moga said, referring to the service’s ongoing pilot shortage.


Burlington Ballot Ads



Airport expansion into neighborhood

By Taylor Young
May 1, 2018

The Queen City is one step closer to building a hotel at the Burlington International Airport.

Monday night city officials approved the BTV Hotel ground lease. Alpha Inn Management is partnering with DEW Properties on the project. In the agreement, the two businesses will lease the property to the city of Burlington for up to two years and give the city a $100,000 deposit.


Democrats and Progressives Push US War Machine in Vermont – World Beyond War

By William Boardman
February 1, 2018

Donald Trump loves the F-35 and so does Burlington City Council – that is the real state of the union

his is a story primarily about corrupt practices by the Burlington City Council, in its headlong determination to force a neighboring city to be the base for a weapon of mass destruction, the nuclear capable F-35 fighter-bomber (in development since 1992, first flown in 2000, still not reliably deployable in 2018, at a cost of $400 billion and counting). Yes, the premise itself is corrupt: Burlington owns the airport in South Burlington, so South Burlington has no effective say in how many housing units Burlington destroys in South Burlington to meet environmental standards for imposing the quiet-shattering F-35 jet on a community that doesn’t want it and won’t benefit from it. The entire “leadership” of the state of Vermont, mostly Democrats, has spent more than a decade making this atrocity happen, with widespread media complicity. And you wonder how we got Trump as President.

Opposition to basing the F-35 in a residential neighborhood is at least as old as the mindless official support, and the opposition has been much more articulate, thoughtful, and detailed. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat and Burlington native, has been enthusiastic about militarizing his hometown from the start, treating it as if it should be seen as an honorable piece of pork from the military-industrial complex. Independent senator Bernie Sanders, like Democratic congressman Peter Welch, has hedged slightly in his support, but neither has come close to a cogently articulated position, much less opposition. Governors of both parties have been cheerleaders, especially Peter Shumlin, who took a junket to Florida to listen to an F-35 and decided it wasn’t all that loud (which was shortly before he decided universal healthcare wasn’t all that necessary).


Winooski F35 Resolution

April 16, 2018



Whereas the City of Winooski wishes to address the Air Force decision to base F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport, doing so through Secretary Dr. Heather Wilson, and ;

Whereas the City of Winooski remains steadfast in our support and commitment to the value of the Vermont Air National Guard to our community, the region, and the state, and;

Whereas the City of Winooski recognizes the bravery and sacrifice of each member of the Guard and their families, and;

Whereas the City of Winooski formally requests the Vermont Air National Guard continue to have a mission that reflects their high level of commitment and professional expertise each member brings to our service, and;


2018 F35 Resolution

March 26, 2018

Resolution Relating to



In the year Two Thousand Eighteen…
Resolved by the City council of the City of Burlington, as follows:

That WHEREAS, on March 6, 2018, by a vote of 6,482 to 5,238, the voters of the City of Burlington approved the following citizen-initiated ballot item by 55.31% of the total votes cast:

“Shall we, the voters of the City of Burlington, as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont,’ advise the City Council to:

1) request the cancellation of the planned basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport, and

2) request instead low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area?;” and

WHEREAS, the Vermont National Guard provided valuable service to the community and to the country that is gratly appreciated by the City of Burlington;

[FULL ARTICLE from Burlington Free Press, PDF also available HERE]

South Burlington F-35 resolution as adopted 4-16-18

South Burlington City Council Resolution in Solidarity with the cities of Burlington and Winooski regarding replacing the F-35A with a safe and quiet aircraft

WHEREAS, South Burlington values the women and men of the Vermont National Guard and endorses their mission to protect the citizens of Vermont;

WHEREAS, South Burlington is the city out of which the Vermont National Guard flies;

WHEREAS, the city of Burlington owns the Burlington International Airport, which is geographically located in the city of South Burlington;

WHEREAS, South Burlington has no legal authority over the flight operations, including those of the Vermont National Guard, at the Burlington International Airport;

WHEREAS, according to the Final United States Air Forces F-35A Operational Basing Environmental Impact Statement, there are over 1,900 homes and over 4,600 people in the F-16 65dB DNL, an area the Federal Government classifies as unsuitable for residential use;


Pentagon stops accepting F-35 jets from Lockheed over repair cost dispute

By Mike Stone
April 11, 2018

The U.S. Department of Defense has stopped accepting most deliveries of F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) because of a dispute over who will cover costs for fixing a production error, three people familiar with the matter said.

Lockheed confirmed on Wednesday that the Pentagon had halted deliveries of the jet over a contractual issue, but did not give further details.

Last year, the Pentagon stopped accepting F-35s for 30 days after discovering corrosion where panels were fastened to the airframe, an issue that affected more than 200 of the stealthy jets. Once a fix had been devised, the deliveries resumed, and Lockheed hit its target aircraft delivery numbers for 2017.

But deliveries were paused again over a dispute as to who will pay for what will likely be a complex logistical fix that could require technicians to travel widely to mend aircraft based around the world, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.


Request to halt F-35 goes forward without Weinberger’s support

By Katie Jickling

April 11, 2018

Mayor Miro Weinberger will not give his blessing to a Burlington City Council resolution asking the feds for an alternative plane to the F-35 fighter jets. He announced Wednesday in a press release that he will neither sign nor veto the letter, which will be sent to the U.S. Air Force on April 16 without his support.

A veto “would serve little purpose other than extending the divisive debate indefinitely,” Weinberger wrote in a commentary published on VTDigger.org that explained his decision.

It is the first time in Weinberger’s six-year tenure as mayor that he has not signed a council resolution, according to the release. Instead, he sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson explaining his decision and voicing his continued support for the jets.

The council considered the resolution after 55 percent of Burlingtonians, on an advisory Town Meeting Day ballot question, voted to halt the basing of the F-35s and request a new mission for the Vermont Air National Guard at Burlington International Airport. The F-35s are currently scheduled to arrive in 2019.


Weinberger won’t sign off on Burlington City Council F-35 resolution

By Anne Galloway
April 11, 2018

Mayor Miro Weinberger announced Wednesday morning that he will not support a Burlington City Council resolution calling for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets, which are slated to be based at the local airport in 2019.

Weinberger consulted with the Vermont Air National Guard and federal officials who he says satisfactorily addressed noise and public safety concerns raised by the public and a series of investigative stories by VTDigger.

Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day rejected the basing of the fighter jets at Burlington International Airport and asked that city leaders urge the Air Force to give the Vermont Air National Guard an alternative mission.

A City Council resolution passed on March 26 reflected the will of city voters.

Weinberger will not sign the resolution. While the mayor previously said he would reconsider his backing of the F-35 basing if voters opposed the fighter jets, he is now reiterating his support for the planes.


Burlington City Council Votes to Request Replacement of F-35

By James Ehlers

April 10, 2018

Here is my position on the F-35. Besides my past study and experience, the DOT&E Report and analysis from the Project On Government Oversight offers further basis for the James Ehlers for Vermont position on this controversial issue.

I applaud the Burlington City Council for their resolution to replace the basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport (a site that was not supported by many in the Air Force at the time).

The people of Burlington spoke out on Election Day, and it is essential that we as leaders respect and promote the will of the people. We have to work together to find a reasonable replacement.

We cannot and MUST not allow whole communities–our schools, businesses and homes– to be degraded by massive noise impacts and extreme environmental risks in the event of a crash. Many of the most affected communities had no say at all in the basing process. Let’s invest in Vermonters, not unproven, financially irresponsible weapons of war.


Vermont Congressional Delegation Opposes Vermont Voters

By William Boardman
March 29, 2018

What happens when the lives of citizens get in the way of political egos?

he politics of American imperialism are alive and well in Vermont, where elected officials are defending the military-industrial war-making machine against voters who reject ruling class priorities. At the symbolic center of this democratic confrontation is the notorious F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the world’s most expensive weapons system, designed to kill in many ways, including a nuclear first strike. And the few times Vermonters have had the chance to vote, they’ve voted against basing this loud, health-harming, housing-destroying offensive war machine in the state’s most densely populated area. Now it’s coming to a head in a people versus career politicians face-off.

At a Town Meeting on March 6, Burlington voters chose, by a 55% majority, to ask the Air Force to base the F-35 in some other state. On March 26, the Burlington City Council, by a 9-3 vote, forwarded that request to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson to “replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record….” For whatever reason, the council request left out the rest of the ballot resolution’s request: “… proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area” (perhaps because that densely populated area is NOT Burlington). The City Council asked Secretary Wilson to respond by May 1.

Vermont’s quisling Congressional delegation – Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, Independent senator Bernie Sanders, and Democratic congressman Peter Welch – made what looks like a cheap shot effort to influence the council vote at the last minute. Late on the afternoon of March 26, Vermont’s “representatives” issued a joint statement saying they stood by their years of pushing for the F-35 basing at the Burlington Airport, which is in South Burlington (which has no voice in the decision).


Air Force Risks Losing Third of F-35s If Upkeep Costs Aren’t Cut

By Anthony Capaccio
March 28, 2018

The U.S. Air Force may have to cut its purchases of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 by a third if it can’t find ways to reduce operations and support costs by as much as 38 percent over a decade, according to an internal analysis.

The shortfall would force the service to subtract 590 of the fighter jets from the 1,763 it plans to order, the Air Force office charged with evaluating the F-35’s impact on operations and budgets, in an assessment obtained by Bloomberg News.

While the Defense Department has said it has gained control over costs for developing and producing a fleet of 2,456 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — now projected at $406 billion — the internal analysis underscores the current and looming challenges of maintaining and operating the warplanes.

It may cost as much as $1.1 trillion to keep the F-35s flying and maintained through 2070, according to the current estimate from the Pentagon’s independent cost unit.


Burlington city council to ask for F-35 plane alternatives

By Tom Garris
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 in favor of a resolution to send a letter to the secretary of the United States Air Force asking for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets that are set to arrive in 2019.

The measure passed after hours of public comment and council debate and requests a response from the secretary by May 1.

This comes after Burlingtonians voted in favor of a Town Meeting Day advisory question, also known as ballot question No. 6, asking the council to request a cancellation of the planes.

City Council President Jane Knodell said she voted in favor of the resolution because it’s what the voters in her district wanted, but she noted that there is a risk.

She said the Vermont Air National Guard could pull out altogether.

“But they might say that we want the Air Guard to really work very hard on noise mitigation, because people are very concerned about that,” Knodell said.


Weinberger could veto city council vote on F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 28, 2018

The Burlington City Council passed a resolution on Monday night requesting an aircraft less noisy than the F-35 fighter jets — but it may be premature for opponents of the jets to celebrate.

Mayor Miro Weinberger can sign or veto the resolution, according to Katie Vane, a spokesperson for the mayor. A veto would then require two-thirds of the council to vote to override the decision.

Weinberger needs to “take action or provide a response” by the council meeting on April 16, according to Vane, and he plans to make a decision by then.

On Tuesday, the mayor indicated that he’ll be deliberate.

“I will use that time as needed to continue the further work on this issue that I promised, and to make this decision with care,” Weinberger said in a statement.

Weinberger, who has previously expressed support for the jets, “is still digging into the repercussions of the city requesting an alternative mission,” Vane said.


Weinberger says he may take 20 days to decide on F-35

By Kelsey Neubauer
March 27, 2018

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said Tuesday he will need up to 20 days to decide whether to support a City Council resolution asking the Air Force for an alternative to the controversial basing of the F-35 jet fighter.

Weinberger said he expects to use as much time as he needs before the council’s next meeting on April 16. Under the city charter, he must decide within that time frame.

“I will use that time as needed to continue the further work on this issue that I promised, and to make this decision with care,” he said in a written statement.

Weinberger has long been a supporter of the F-35 basing, but he told VTDigger in February that he would reconsider his stance if voters opposed it.


Burlington city council approves resolution calling for F-35 cancellation

By Kelsey Neubauer
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 Monday in support of a resolution requesting the cancellation of a planned F-35 fighter jet basing at the Burlington airport in favor of an aircraft that is quieter and has a proven safety record.

The City Council vote follows a ballot measure passed by Burlington residents on Town Meeting Day demanding that the City Council ask the Air Force to cancel plans for basing the F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

The motion states: “the Burlington City Council values the Air National Guard’s contributions to our community and respectfully requests the Honorable Secretary of the United States Air Force, Heather Wilson, replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record, consistent with the ballot question previously cited.”

Like the ballot measure, the letter is advisory in nature. With the basing already approved, the Air Guard has the final say on whether to cancel the basing.

“We obviously have no authority over the Air Force, but we are clear on what we’re asking,” said Councilor Joan Shannon, D-South District, who drafted the resolution.


Burlington City Council wants F-35 based elsewhere

March 26, 2018

City councilors in Burlington want the F-35 to be based somewhere else.

Public comment on the issue lasted for hours at a packed City Hall Monday night. People on both sides of the debate stepped up to share their opinions about whether the Queen City should support the Air Force’s latest fighter jet set to land in Vermont in fall 20-19.

On Town Meeting Day, voters approved a non-binding ballot item saying they do not want the jets here.


Burlington City Council could vote to request cancelation of the F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 26, 2018

The Burlington City Council will take up a resolution Monday that asks the U.S. Air Force to base a safer alternative to the F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

The proposed measure comes after 55 percent of Burlingtonians voted on Town Meeting Day to ask the council to “request the cancellation” of the planes and find a less noisy, less risky option.

“The voters asked us to take action, so we’re going to take action,” said Councilor Joan Shannon (D-South District), who sponsored the resolution.

It includes a lengthy list of questions for Air Force secretary Heather Wilson: whether an alternative mission would be plausible, the safety and environmental risks of the F-35s, how often pilots would use afterburners and whether Burlington is the only populated area where F-35s will be deployed. The resolution asks for a written response from Wilson by May 1.


F-35: Still No Finish Line in Sight

By: Dan Grazier
March 19, 2018

Jim Roche, then-Secretary of the Air Force, made an announcement on October 26, 2001, that all aviation enthusiasts had been waiting for: a winner had been picked to design and build the Joint Strike Fighter. The American people were assured the new jet would enter service in 2008 and be a high-performance replacement for the military’s aging airframes while only costing between $40 million and $50 million.

The F-35 has now entered an unprecedented seventeenth year of continuing redesign, test deficiencies, fixes, schedule slippages, and cost overruns. And it’s still not at the finish line. Numerous missteps along the way—from the fact that the two competing contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, submitted “flyoff” planes that were crude and undeveloped “technology demonstrators” rather than following the better practice of submitting fully functional prototypes, to concurrent acquisition malpractice that has prevented design flaws from being discovered until after production models were built—have led to where we are now. According to the latest annual report from the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E), 263 “high priority” performance and safety deficiencies remain unresolved and unaddressed, and the developmental tests—essentially, the laboratory tests—are far from complete. If they complete the tests, more deficiencies will surely be found that must be addressed before the plane can safely carry our Airmen and women into combat


Pentagon to move ahead with $3 billion F-35 upgrade program in 2018

By Andrea Shalal
March 23, 2016

The Pentagon expects to award contracts for a $3 billion, six-year effort to upgrade its newest warplane, the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jet, by the end of 2018, the Air Force general who runs the $391 billion program said on Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan rejected a call by the Government Accountability Office, the research arm of Congress, to make the $3 billion project into a separate weapons program.

Michael Sullivan, director of defense weapons systems acquisition at GAO, told a hearing of the House Armed Services tactical and air land forces subcommittee that it would be difficult for Congress to oversee the upgrade unless it was carved out of the larger F-35 program.


Pentagon ‘Can’t Afford’ F-35’s Trillion Dollar Plus Sustainment Costs

March 3, 2018

“Right now, we can’t afford the sustainment costs we have on the F-35,” Ellen Lord, the new Defense Department undersecretary for defense acquisition and sustainment, told reporters this week. “And we are committed to changing that.”

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive weapons program in US history and remains the Pentagon’s “most significant” program, according to Lord.

According to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, “sustainment is a key component of performance. Including sustainment planning ‘up front’ enables the acquisition and requirements communities to provide a weapon system with optimal availability and reliability to the warfighter at value.”


Democracy 1, War Machine 0 | SocialistWorker.org

By Paul Fleckenstein
March 14, 2018

Burlington, Vermont, last week approved a referendum directing local officials to oppose the basing of the F-35 warplane at the Vermont Air National Guard Station in Burlington.

While majority opposition to the basing has been clear in neighboring towns, the referendum marked the first time the issue has been put to a popular vote. “This is a huge victory for democracy,” said organizer Jimmy Leas, “All the congressional delegation, the entire political establishment of Vermont was addressed by this electorate today that, with 55 percent of the vote, said ‘Yes,’ we want to cancel the F-35.”


New F-35 modernization plan could come with hefty $16B price tag

By Valerie Insinna
March 9, 2018

Under the F-35 joint program office’s latest plan, follow-on modernization for the Joint Strike Fighter could add up to a total of $16 billion, the Defense Department’s program head confirmed Wednesday.

Responding to questions from lawmakers about the price of implementing the new Continuous Capability Development and Delivery strategy, or C2D2, Vice Adm. Mat Winter acknowledged that U.S. and international customers could pay up to $10.8 billion for development and $5.4 billion for procurement of upgrades to the F-35 between fiscal years 2018 through 2024.

Last September at the Defense News conference, Winter announced that the JPO had re-envisioned the F-35’s follow on-modernization plan, also known as Block 4, as a more iterative process where software updates would be pumped out every six months. New computing systems, sensors and weapons would also be incorporated during the period.

Lawmakers to military: don’t buy another money pit like the F-35

By Matthew Cox
March 7, 2018

Lawmakers on Wednesday put senior military officials on the spot to explain how current acquisition reform efforts will prevent costly programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from becoming “too big to fail.”

Members of the House Armed Services Committee met with acquisition chiefs from the Army, Navy and Air Force to assess how the services are using new congressional authorities to streamline the bureaucratic policies and procedures that often prevent combat systems from being fielded efficiently.


F-35 Jet: Most Expensive Weapon Ever Will Need Another $16 Billion in Upgrades

By David Brennan
March 9, 2018

The F-35 stealth jet will need an additional $16 billion worth of upgrades and development, the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has been told.

The F-35, made by Lockheed Martin, is already the most expensive weapons program of all time. It has now been revealed that the F-35 will need even more cash to stay at the front of fifth-generation fighter pack, Reuters reported.

The costs are part of a strategy to perform incremental software and modernization updates on the fighters, meaning they would not have to be taken out of service for several months at a time. It is estimated that the project will cost a total of $406.5 billion.


The F-35 Still Has a Long Way to Go before It Will Be Ready for Combat | The National Interest Blog

By Dan Grazier
March 8, 2018

The F-35 still has a long way to go before it will be ready for combat. That was the parting message of Dr. Michael Gilmore, the now-retired Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, in his last annual report.

The Joint Strike Fighter Program has already consumed more than $100 billion and nearly 25 years. Just to finish the basic development phase will require at least an extra $1 billion and two more years. Even with this massive investment of time and money, Dr. Gilmore told Congress, the Pentagon, and the public, “the operational suitability of all variants continues to be less than desired by the Services.”


VPR VT Edition on F-35 Burlington vote

By Jane Lindholm & Matthew F. Smith
March 12, 2018

Eighteen F-35 stealth fighter jets are set to come to Vermont next year, but on Town Meeting Day, a ballot question with language rejecting the fighters passed with wide support in Burlington. We’re looking at what that vote means and what happens next for the F-35s in Vermont.

Fifty-five percent of Burlington voters called for canceling the basing of the F-35s at the Burlington International Airport. Ballot Measure 6 now tasks the Burlington City Council to “request the cancellation” of the F-35 basing decision, and “request instead” alternate “low-noise-level equipment” for the Burlington Air Guard station.

After surviving past council efforts to vote down the fighters and a legal challenge to the site selection process, the Vermont National Guard says the vote won’t change their plans to bring 18 F-35s to Burlington starting in 2019.


South Burlington school officials race to test for noise ahead of F-35 arrival


By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
March 11, 2018

An elementary school near the Vermont Air National Guard base will be tested for sound levels in April, a year after a federal manager warned that the 1960s-era structure required modifications to protect students from jet noise.

“So long as sound insulation is provided and the windows are shut in the school it should be fine,” Federal Aviation Administration Environmental Program Manager Richard Doucette said at a Burlington International Airport community meeting on Feb. 21, 2017.

Doucette surprised the school district that evening when he told airport neighbors that the FAA was looking into the safety of the 65-decibel sound level for children. Chamberlin Elementary School, four blocks or 2,000 feet from one of the airport’s runways, sits within that sound level zone. Residents within the 70-decibel noise zone in 2016 were offered federal funds to abandon their homes because the government believes that level of sound to be unlivable.


Seven State Legislators Call to Cancel F-35 Basing

March 2, 2018

We are pleased to announce that Burlington Representatives and Chittenden County Senators, have signed a group letter urging Burlington voters to vote “Yes” on ballot question #6 regarding the F35s. The letter follows:

To whom it may concern,

We stand together in favor of Burlington’s ballot question #6 to oppose the basing of the F-35s at the Vermont Air National Guard. The issues are as follows:

1. Noise/Housing: The F-35 is over four times louder than the current F-16, which will put over 6,600 people’s home in a high decibel noise zone that the Federal Government classifies as unsuitable for residential use.1

2. Crash rate: The planes are still new and as such have an eight times higher crash rate than the F-16s. Typically the Air Force chooses a remote base for the new military aircraft. With 1,400 homes in the crash zone, we cannot take this risk. The current runway aims directly at the largest shopping area in Vermont with two dozen big box stores one mile away in Williston. This is not an abstract issue. In 1965, a military jet crashed in Williston. Fortunately, the area was an open field at the time so the casualties were limited to the two people on board.2…


F-35 Ballot Discussion at Burlington’s North End NPAs

February 28, 2018

Each of Burlington’s neighborhoods has its own unique history, resources and problems to be solved, and the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies reflect this diversity. Because many of the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies grew out of existing neighborhood groups, each has a different character and a different approach to resolving issues.

The February meeting of the Ward 4 & 7 NPA (North End NPAs) addresses ballot items for Town Meeting Day, candidates running for office, and other neighborhood issues.

Scroll to 25:00 mark in the video above for coverage of the F-35 ballot item.


Ben & Jerry’s co-founder: I knew I was disturbing the peace

March 4, 2018

The co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream knew he was disturbing the peace with a noisy demonstration against fighter jets.

Ben Cohen told the Burlington Free Press that’s exactly the point.

Cohen was one of three activists arrested for disorderly conduct Saturday after blasting jet noise from a mobile public address system in Burlington, Vermont.

He said the goal was to simulate what it might be like for residents living under the flight path of Vermont National Guard F-35 fighters. He tweeted that if he violated the city noise ordinance then the fighter jets will, too.


A letter from South Burlington teacher, Kathy Buley, against F-35

By Kathy Buley

I have been a teacher in the South Burlington school district for over thirty years. I have taught in all three of the elementary schools, and have been here at Chamberlin for twenty years. I have also lived in the Chamberlin neighborhood since 1980. I have, therefore, had a considerable amount of time to witness the changing dynamics of the airport and military aircraft during both my work day and at home.

When I first moved into the Chamberlin neighborhood, the sounds of the airport were a slight nuisance to which one could adjust. Over time, however, the growth of the airport and the introduction of the F-16s has created a significant intrusion into the lives of those in the neighborhood. The level of disturbance has become a reality that no one could have predicted when we bought our homes or built our school.


An F-35 jet blast demonstration leads to noise complaint charges

By Dom Amato
March 3, 2018

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s led a public service demonstration Saturday, simulating the sound of an F-35 jet blast.

Cohen and other organizers were eventually arrested by Burlington Police, and charged with disorderly conduct by noise. The protestors drove a truck with multiple speakers throughout Burlington — to allow people to hear what they say over 6,000 people in the F-35 flight path will hear multiple times a day. Burlington Police issued at least one set of tickets to the organizers for a noise violation as well. Multiple residents and businesses were heavily impacted and complained to the group about the lack of warning.


Ben & Jerry’s co-founder arrested in Burlington

By Rebecca Reese
March 3, 2018

A well-known Vermont businessman was handcuffed today in front of Burlington City Hall.

Police say Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested this afternoon. He was taken into custody after leading a public service demonstration intended to simulate the sound of the F-35 jet blast.

Lt. Matthew Sullivan explained a truck with amplifiers was pulled over multiple times throughout Burlington receiving tickets for violating the city’s noise ordinance.

“Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise so they were arrested,” Lt. Sullivan said. “Three protesters were arrested.”

Supporters of the demonstration such as James Leas said arresting protesters for noise proved their point about F-35 jet blasts.


Ben (of Ben & Jerry’s fame) arrested for noisy protest in Burlington, Vt.

By Lucas Phillips
March 03, 2018

Ben Cohen was reportedly driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport. One of the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested after repeatedly violating noise ordinances in Burlington, Vt., as part of a protest Saturday, police said.

From 11 a.m. until his arrest at 3:20 p.m., 66-year-old Bennett Cohen of Williston (better known to the world as Ben) was driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport, according to Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan of Burlington police. Sullivan said Cohen was pulling a trailer with “speakers you’d find in a club . . . probably 6 feet . . . in height” and powered by four generators.


Ben & Jerry’s cofounder arrested during F-35 protest

By Tom Garris
March 3, 2018

The cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested-along with two other people-Saturday, for disorderly conduct by noise.

Ben Cohen was among a group that staged a political demonstration in downtown Burlington.

They had a pickup truck hauling a trailer with heavy audio equipment, playing aircraft takeoff noises.

It was a form of protest to simulate F-35 aircrafts set to come to the South Burlington Airport in 2019.

“We are sorry to disturb people,” Cohen said. “We don’t want to do this, but it’s a disturbance once for people that are going to hear this demonstration.”

Sound levels peaked more than 100 decibels, and police received complaints about the noise.


Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. co-founder Ben Cohen arrested during F-35 protest in Vermont

By Jess Aloe
March 3, 2018

Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested Saturday in downtown Burlington for violating the city’s noise ordinances while holding a “public demonstration” about F-35 fighter planes, police said.

Activists opposed to the impending basing of the Air Force F-35s in Burlington played jet noise from speakers mounted on the back of a pickup truck at a decible level they said simulated what it would be like to be underneath the flight path of the planes

Cohen was one of three people arrested for disorderly conduct shortly after 3 p.m., said Lt. Matthew Sullivan. Cohen was escorted from a downtown intersection in handcuffs.


Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen Arrested for Protesting F-35 Fighter Jets – Breitbart

By Sean Moran
March 4, 2018

Burlington, Vermont police arrested Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen on Saturday after he repeatedly violated a local noise ordinance in a personal protest against the F-35 fighter jet.
Cohen, a supporter of Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign, attached several amplifiers to his car and drove through the city to simulate the sound of an F-35 fighter jet.

The protest began around 11 A.M. on Saturday and was cited numerous times before Cohen was arrested for violating the town’s noise ordinance.

Burlington Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan said, “Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise, so they were arrested, three protesters were arrested.”

Cohen tweeted on Saturday, “Getting ticketed. It’s either legal or it’s not, if it’s legal for the F-35 to make this noise 16 times per day, 52 wks a yr, for the next 50 yrs, it should b legal for us to do this limited demonstration of extreme jet blasts which are the subject of Item #6 on the March ballot.”

Supporters of the protest argued that by arresting the demonstrators, the police proved their point about the dangers of excessive noise pollution.


F-35’s Harm to kids

By Linda Ayer
January 14, 2013

Attached is the two page resolution that the Burlington Board of Health is submitting to the City Council in regard to basing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the Air Guard Station at the Burlington International Airport.


Also, a link to a copy of Children’s Health and the Environment, by WHO (World Health Organization) Training Package for the Health Sector.

Save Our Skies VT March 4 Press Release

March 4, 2018

Save Our Skies VT is making public the dire health impacts—both physical and cognitive—to the
children in our area from the noise of the F-35. They will hold a press conference at 11:00 AM

on Monday, March 5, 2018 outside of Burlington City Hall (Church St side). Health care profes-
sionals, teachers, parents, Colonel Rosanne Greco, and Ben Cohen will be present to speak based on their expertise and personal experiences.


Jimmy Leas Interview with WCAX

March 4, 2018
By Darren Perron

Good morning everyone, I’m Darren Perron. Right now on “You Can Quote Me,” how much it will cost you. Federal Tax Changes hitting some Vermont families hard. The state’s Tax Commissioner joins me in just a bit.

Also, campaign countdown in the Burlington Mayors race. Meet the candidates making their final push before Town Meeting Day.

And progress report on the F-35, plus controversy surrounding a ballot question about the fighter jet.


Burlington Ward 6 NPA Meeting

March 1, 2018

Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPAs) are grassroots, neighborhood organizations that were established in each of Burlington’s seven Wards to empower citizen participation in City government. Working as neighborhood advocacy groups, Neighborhood Planning Assemblies facilitate communication between the citizens of Burlington and city government through regular meetings scheduled in each Ward.

Scroll to 87:03 in the video above for the segment about Ballot Item Regarding the Vermont Air National Guard Basing of F-35’s at Burlington International Airport.


Local 22 F-35 press conference coverage

By Torrance Gaucher
March 5, 2018

Tuesday is Town Meeting Day, and Vermonters can head to the polls starting at 7 am.

In Burlington, voters will be voting to elect a new mayor, city councilors, and seven ballot items. Those items range from recommending to raise the age of sale for tobacco from 18 to 21. To the controversial ballot item, whether the F35 should be based in the community.

On Monday, concerned residents gathered outside of City Hall on Church Street to inform voters about the health impacts of the fighter jet.

Also, how the level of noise will disturb way of life.


Ice cream mogul Ben Cohen, activists arrested for ‘jet blasts’ in Burlington

By Anne Galloway
Mar 4, 2018

Demonstrators don’t often break the law to get their point across, but on Saturday, three activists who oppose the F-35 basing in Burlington, did just that.

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Ray Gonda, a military vet, and Richard Joseph broke the city’s sound ordinance to make a point: The F-35s that are coming to the Burlington area are loud. Extremely loud. So loud that when the three men blasted neighborhoods with the jet sound residents emerged from their houses (with their hands over their ears) to shout at the activists to stop the deafening roar.

The noise came from a set of speakers on the back of a pickup truck. It simulated an F-35 fighter jet flying at 1,000 feet — a booming rumble that hits a decibel level of 115 — about four times louder than the F-16, the fighter jets that have been based at Burlington International Airport since the 1980s.

“We cranked this thing up and it’s insane,” Cohen said. “A lot of people were pissed off, how could you make this much noise in front of my house?”

Cohen was apologetic. He said he knew the jet blasts were obnoxious in the extreme, but he said, “It was necessary to do this to prevent a greater harm.”


Stop the F-35 March 5 Press Conference

March 5, 2018


Intro Rosanne Greco (Ret. Air Force Colonel): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM

Fiona Griffin, Winooski mother: https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=2m10s

Bob Walsh on behalf of Kathy Buley (Teacher at Chamberlin School): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=5m8s

Bob Walsh (Retired teacher and former Marine): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=6m16s and earlier at https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXm M?t=4m32s

Sharon Hopper on behalf or Ann Goering (Winooski doctor): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=8m21s

Dr. John Reuwer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=11m36s

Ben Cohen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=13m30s

Closing (Rosanne Greco): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=15m58s

Call and response (Rachel Siegel, Director of Peace & Justice Center): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=17m56s

F-35 opponents highlight children’s health risks in final ballot push

By Mike Dougherty
Mar 5, 2018

Activists opposed to the planned basing of F-35 fighter jets in Burlington made a final plea to voters Monday to consider the health effects of noise exposure on area children when they cast their ballots on Tuesday.

Question #6 on the Burlington ballot asks voters whether the City Council should request the cancellation of the planned basing and ask for quieter aircraft. Vermont Air National Guard officials and local economic development boosters have stressed that the ballot measure is non-binding and will not affect the military’s plans.

Environmental impact data compiled by the Air Force in 2013 states that the F-35 will be four times louder than the F-16s currently stationed at the Vermont Air Guard base. That volume increase will disproportionately affect young children at area homes and schools, opponents said at a press conference Monday.

Among the dozens of activists gathered at City Hall was Fiona Griffin, who lives under the airport flight path in Winooski. Griffin said that her two children, now ages 4 and 2, have been afraid of the F-16s since they were toddlers.

“Fighter jets have woken my babies while they slept, scared them while they played, and brought them to tears on more than one occasion,” Griffin said. “It’s just really disruptive.”


Leahy and staff had role in F-35 basing decision

By Jasper Craven
Mar 5 2018

In December 2012, more than 100 Vermonters gathered outside U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s Burlington office to voice their displeasure over his support for a plan to base a squadron of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

While many of the activists in attendance generally agreed with the senior senator’s political philosophy and that of his two fellow Vermont congressional colleagues, they found themselves at odds on the F-35 issue. One woman’s sign read: “Leahy, Sanders, Welch, You’re Breaking My Heart.”

According to a Seven Days report, protesters entered Leahy’s office and demanded the Democratic lawmaker hold a public hearing on the F-35. Leahy’s chief of staff, John Tracy, appeared on the senator’s behalf and dismissed calls for a forum.

Jimmy Leas, a South Burlington attorney long opposed to the planes, pointed out to Tracy that “so far, (Leahy) has only made himself available to speak with supporters of the plane.”




F-35 noise public service announcement

March 3, 2018

Stop the F-35! Give the guard a plane that doesn’t hurt our neighbors and their children. Vote YES on #6.


Former Air Force colonel commands F-35 opposition

Rosanne GrecoBy Jasper Craven
Mar 2 2018

For nearly three decades, Col. Rosanne Greco served her country in the U.S. Air Force. But for the past five years, she’s been engaged in a fierce battle with the military over the planned basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

And while Greco looks back fondly on her service, her perspective on the military — and jet noise — has changed dramatically since she began asking questions about plans to base 18 F-35s in Burlington, scheduled to begin next fall.

“I just get sort of a thrill with that loud noise, so it never bothered me personally,” Greco recalled. “As a matter of fact, we used to run out and listen to it. Although I emotionally enjoy loud jet noise, now my head knows that it’s not really good for me. … Now when I hear the noise I connect it to the people who are trapped, who really have nowhere to go.”


Vermont officials steadfast in support of F-35

By Jasper Craven
Mar 1 2018

In December 2012, Vermont’s then-Gov. Peter Shumlin squeezed into a nine-seat charter jet for a trip to Florida.

Those on board — including Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and then-Winooski Mayor Michael O’Brien — were headed to Eglin Air Force Base. The mission: To hear the noise of the F-35 fighter jet firsthand, and report back to Vermonters.

The trip was paid for by the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. (GBIC), a business group that has supported the basing of F-35 stealth fighter jets in the Burlington area. One of that group’s leaders, real estate magnate Ernie Pomerleau, also accompanied Shumlin on the trip.

Noticeably absent were officials from South Burlington, the city expected to shoulder the greatest burden when 18 of the jets are scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next fall. They were not invited.

After touching down in sunny Florida, Democrat Shumlin and the rest of his delegation took a tour of an F-35. “It’s a pretty amazing machine,” Shumlin remarked to a Vermont Public Radio reporter who accompanied the officials.

After the tour, Shumlin listened to two idling jet models: one simulating an F-16, the military aircraft currently based in Burlington; the other mocking an F-35, the replacement. Shumlin and his colleagues also witnessed both planes taking off. “Volume, seems to me, is about the same,” Shumlin observed.

“Listening to this has been a real eye opener,” he said.


Problems have plagued the F-35 for many years

By Jasper Craven
Feb 28 2018

Many adjectives have been used to describe the F-35 stealth fighter jet scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next year, and few of them are flattering.

The F-35 program has been pilloried in the national press as “flawed” and “failed.” It’s been called a “nightmare,” “a mess” and “a trillion-dollar mistake.” And just last month, a Bloomberg report bluntly stated: “The Pentagon Isn’t Happy with the F-35.”

Sen. John McCain, a longtime military stalwart, has been a consistent critic of the Joint Strike Fighter program over its years of development delays and cost overturns that continue to this day.

“The F-35 program’s record of performance has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance,” the Arizona Republican said when he chaired a 2016 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the F-35.

In 2013, the Defense Department inspector generaldetermined that the plane’s main developer, Lockheed Martin, was inadequately overseeing the F-35’s development, which “may result in nonconforming hardware, less reliable aircraft, and increased cost.”


Already battered by thunderous noise, community braces for arrival of F-35

By Jasper Craven
Feb 27 2018

Conversations in Ray Gonda’s house came to an abrupt halt whenever the F-16s started roaring. As the growling grew louder, Gonda and his wife moved away from the windows, which vibrated as if they were possessed. As the plane took off and flew over their home, family pictures hanging side-by-side on the living room wall shook violently.

“I’d often have to readjust those pictures after the plane took off,” Gonda recalled recently.

For decades now, a fleet of F-16 fighter jets have flown out of Burlington International Airport. While the noise has become routine to many, the impact of the sound hasn’t lost its potency.


Town Meeting Day Burlington Ballot Forum: The F-35 Question

February 25, 2018

Advocates on both sides of the F-35 debate Nicole Citro, Bill Keogh, Jimmy Leas, and Roseanne Greco share their perspectives on the F-35 plane to be used by the VT Air National Guard slated for 2019 during this live call-in forum with Channel 17 Moderator Meghan O’Rourke


Doug Dunbebin blasts F35 noise for Burlington City Councilors

Above clip (approx. 3 1/2 minutes) from when the Burlington City Council refused to limit aircraft noise at the airport, thereby clearing the way for the basing process to continue. Councilor Joan Shannon changed the meeting’s rules at the last minute, disallowing anyone who had ever spoken before on the issue to speak at that meeting (even though two weeks earlier she had promised everyone they would be able to speak). Therefore the people with the most knowledge, including our lawyer, were given no opportunity to refute the misinformation from the proponents.

Doug Dunbebin, a former city councilor himself, broadcasted the recorded sound of the F35s to the council.  You can hear Councilor Shannon in the background screaming at him and pounding her gavel.

“Do you feel it?  Do you feel it?  Are all of you feeling this?  This is anger, and it’s what people will feel every time they hear that airplane take off. Do you understand that?”

Doug Dunbebin


General Cray’s February 9, 2018 Press Conference

February 9, 2018

There seems to be some misinformation being circulated about where we are in the F35 basing process by the opponents of the F35. I also want to make a few comments about the non-binding ballot question being presented to the voters of Burlington.

I need to make it perfectly clear that I am the spokesperson for the Vermont National Guard, the opponents of the F35 are not…

There is no alternative mission being planned for the VT Air National Guard.


A Plea from Winooski Citizens – Burlington Free Press

By Coalition for a Livable Winooski
February 18, 2018

We’ve always thought of ourselves as part of the Burlington community.

We like you.
We think you like us.
We need your help.

The extreme noise level from the current military places at the airport doesn’t affect most of you. But it affects most of us. It’s driving us crazy.
And it’s about to get WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY worse for us if the F-35 comes here, because the Air Force told us the F-35 is 4 times louder than the F-16.


F-35 jet program budget exceeds $406 billion, yet universal healthcare too costly

By Ashley Curtin
January 5, 2018

While the F-35 jet program’s cost jumps to $406 billion from the original price tag of $379 billion, members of Congress continue to insist that the U.S. is “too broke” to increase spending on programs that intend to improve education and healthcare within the country.

In an updated draft, which will be submitted to Congress this week, Lockheed Martin is asking for an additional $27 billion for the F-35 jet program budget, which is almost a 7 percent increase, according to BloomsMag.

After Donald Trump raved about his ability to form “better deals” with weapons manufacturers, the F-35 jet program is still the U.S.’ most expensive weapons program to date, according to BloombergPolitics.

“We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program,” Trump said in a press conference last January.


Association between the rates of low birth-weight and/or preterm infants and aircraft noise exposure

September 2003

Intense noise exposure having been observed in vicinal areas around the U.S. military airfields in Okinawa, Japan, suggests the possibility of adverse effects on fetal growth, as studies have reported such effects around other airfields. This study analyzes the birth records in Okinawa prefecture and investigates whether lower birth weights of infants and shorter gestation periods are observed around the airfields.

The records of 160,460 births in 15 municipalities around the Kadena and Futenma airfields from 1974 to 1993 were subjected to analysis. Average WECPNL among residents in each municipality was calculated as a measure of noise exposure, since the birth records did not contain information on precise birth addresses but only the municipalities. The odds ratios of low birth weight, i.e. under 2,500 grams, and preterm birth, i.e. less than 37 weeks, were obtained by multiple logistic regression analysis with adjustment for the primary factors that would be related to fetal growth. The factors included sex, maternal age, live birth order, occupation of householder, legitimacy of the infant, year of birth and interaction between maternal age and live birth order.

The logistic regression analysis showed a significant dose-response relationship between low birth weight and noise exposure. The significance probability of trend test was less than 0.0001. The adjusted odds ratio was 1.3 in the highest noise exposure area


Air Force reply and motion for judgment

March 7, 2016

According to Plaintiffs, this “no military aircraft” alternative should have been the no action alternative, or was at least a reasonable alternative that should have been considered in the FEIS…
However, conspicuously absent from the VTANG’s presentation was any suggestion that once those aircraft were retired the VTANG would abandon its decades old mission of flying fighter jets.



To the contrary, the Air Force informed the public that if Burlington was not selected, the base’s “current mission would continue.” … In short, Plaintiffs’ speculation regarding “empty hangars at Burlington” is unfounded, and Plaintiffs have failed to show the Air Force used an improper no action alternative.


Lockheed’s F-35 Fighters Will Cost $1.2 Trillion. After 16 Years, Only 50% Are Ready to Fly

January 24, 2018

Efforts to improve the reliability of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 are “stagnant,” undercut by problems such as aircraft sitting idle over the last year awaiting spare parts from the contractor, according to the Pentagon’s testing office.

The availability of the fighter jet for missions when needed — a key metric — remains “around 50 percent, a condition that has existed with no significant improvement since October 2014, despite the increasing number of aircraft,” Robert Behler, the Defense Department’s new director of operational testing, said in an annual report delivered Tuesday to senior Pentagon leaders and congressional committees.


Air Force Bases & Toxic Chemicals

January 8, 2018

For 25 years, Dan Cruz delivered mail at the Peterson Air Force Base and drank the water. Then came cancer – thyroid, prostate, testicular – he said never before seen in his family.

“I’m the only one that’s been diagnosed with cancer not once, not twice, but three times. People on my route… cancer has come upon them and sometimes stage 4,” Cruz told CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.

The cause could be firefighting foam used since the 1970s at Air Force bases and airports across the country, something meant to save lives that may have harmed them instead. The foam contains highly fluorinated chemicals, known as PFCs. It is suspected of causing some cancers and underweight births.


Burlington Residents Will Vote on F-35 Question As Written

By Katie Jickling
January 30, 2018

The Burlington City Council on Monday agreed to allow voters to weigh in on the future basing of the F-35 fighter jets — but not before a lengthy discussion about ballot wording that, in the end, will remain the same.

The Town Meeting Day ballot question is advisory, and is not likely to prevent the planned 2019 arrival of the F-35s. The crux of the debate during Monday’s meeting centered not around the vote itself, but around language F-35 opponents used conveying “strong support” for the Vermont Air National Guard.

Three councilors — Jane Knodell (P-Central District), Dave Hartnett (D-North District) and Kurt Wright (R-Ward 4) — proposed an amendment to delete the phrase, “as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont.'”

Col. Hank Harder, the guard’s 158th Fighter Wing Vice Wing Commander, agreed with the proposed amendment, saying Monday that it would be “disingenuous and misleading” for F-35 opponents to frame their question in terms of support for the guard.


FAA offers few solutions for F-35 noise mitigation in South Burlington

By Emily Greenberg

February 17, 2017

An official with the Federal Aviation Administration told residents here that there is little that can be done to mitigate noise from F-35 jet fighters taking off and landing at the Burlington International Airport.

The airport is located in the middle of a residential area. At a question and answer session Thursday night with officials from the FAA and the Vermont Air National Guard there was only one solution offered to concerns about noise pollution from the aircraft: Home buyouts.

“The best way to mitigate noise, at high noise levels, is to buy homes and remove them,” said Richard Doucette, the FAA’s New England Environmental Program manager. “But the city of South Burlington doesn’t want that. Usually it’s the opposite.”

South Burlington city councilors have suggested noise barriers as an alternative to home buyouts, but Doucette said that the odds of the FAA funding a noise-wall would be slim.


Burlington Airport Commission and FAA Joint Meeting on Noise Mitigation

February 16, 2017

The Burlington International Airport (BTV) and its Commissioners held a question and answer session on February 16, 2017 with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives, Airport representatives , Vermont Air National Guard, Vermont Army National Guard and various Airport consultants in relation to the Home Buyout Program, Land Use and Reuse Program, Noise Exposure Maps and Noise Compatibility Program. We welcomed any questions that you may have regarding these programs or any other Airport initiatives.


Response from the Guard about the Burlington F35 Vote

The military says it’s set to base the F-35 fighter jet in Burlington by next fall, but opponents have renewed a long-simmering fight to prevent the next-generation fighter jet from landing.

A plan to base the military’s F-35 jet in Burlington has sparked nearly a decade of debate. Efforts to stop it have included lawsuits and anti-campaigns. The latest — a group called the Coalition for a Livable City.

“We urge the public to join together to protect the right to vote on an issue of fundamental importance, and not allow the mayor to force F-35 basing and bashing on Burlington without a vote,” said
James Leas, a long time F-35 opponent, and ring leader of the group.


Press conference on getting the F-35 issue onto the Burlington ballot

By Katie Jickling

January 19, 2018

Opponents of the decision to base F-35s at Burlington International Airport collected 2,700 signatures — nearly 1,000 more than required — to put the question to Queen City voters on the Town Meeting Day ballot, members announced in a press conference outside City Hall on Friday.

The advisory question, which must be approved by the city council to be on the ballot, asks voters to “advise the city council” to cancel the planned basing of F-35s, which are scheduled to arrive at the airport’s Air National Guard base in 2019. The ballot item asks if voters will “request instead low-noise-level equipment … appropriate for a densely populated area.”


CCTV video of F-35 discussion

December 12, 2017

Charles Simpson, retired professor of sociology, sits down with Jimmy Leas, activist with Save Our Skies, Rosanne Greco, retired Air Force Colonel and Save Our Skies activist, and Carol Miller, of the New Mexico based Peaceful Skies Coalition, to pokes a few holes in the message to which Vermont’s political establishment is wed: that the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 fighter plane is a wise investment and an appreciable factor in Greater Burlington’s livability.


PRA and FOIA request for VTANG sources for statements on needing the F-35 for a mission

By James A Dumont, Esq., P.C.
February 8, 2018

I write on behalf of numerous residents of Burlington, Winooski, South Burlington, and
surrounding communities, including but not limited to Mr. Leas, to submit this Public
Records Act and Freedom of Information Act request to the Vermont Department of the
Military, the Vermont Air National Guard, the Vermont National Guard and to you, as well
as to the Air Force.

The Vermont Air National Guard website contains a FOIA page. The FOIA page refers
all requests to the Air Force. To be complete, I am submitting this request to you under
both FOIA and the Vermont Public Records Act, and I am submitting it as well to the Air
Force at the email address on the Air Guard’s FOIA web page.

However, I must insist on a response from the Vermont Department of the Military as well
as a response from the Air Force. You were selected by the Vermont legislature to head
the Vermont Department of the Military, to fulfill functions mandated by the Vermont
Constitution and Vermont statutes.


Leahy pressures Air Force to base F-35 in VT

By George Nichols, E Maj. USAF
September 3, 2013

Notes from today’s phone conversation between Senator Leahy and General Welsh

  • Senator Leahy opened with casual conversation and wanted to be a little more “Parochial” concerning F-35
  • He strongly supports F-35 in Vermont. Tiny vocal minority that is against it. He has received over 200 letters from the group; however, he has over 13,000 signatures for it
  • He strongly urges the Air Force to not delay the RoD in light of rumor that there would be a two year delay for Ops 3 (ANG)
  • He understands the rational of splitting the decision into two RoDs, one for Active Duty and one for ANG but asks for little or no delay in the two RoDs

It’s not too late, We can still save our communities!

By Jasper Craven

Feb 6 2018

It’s NOT TOO LATE! We can still save our communities from the inappropriate F35 basing in our residential neighborhoods!

Burlington voters — please help by voting YES on article #6 at Town Meeting Day on Tuesday, March 6.

“Elsewhere in recent years, military plans have been scrapped or greatly reduced in scope following intense push back from community and political leaders.”


F-35 nuclear capability sooner than expected

By Alex Lockie

Jan. 12, 2017

The Air Force designed the F-35A with nuclear capability in mind, and a new report indicates that the Joint Strike Fighter may carry nuclear weapons sooner than expected.

The Air Force originally planned to integrate nuclear weapons in the F-35 between 2020-2022, but Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus told Defensetech.org that “it would definitely be possible,” to hasten the deployment of B-61 nuclear gravity bombs on the F-35 should the need for it arise.


F-35 at Burlington Mayoral Debate

February 5, 2018

NH Senator’s ability and actions to counter Air Force plans

A Republican senator on a leading defense panel in Congress has moved to block the Air Force’s plans to retire the A-10 Warthog attack plane.



A Republican senator has blocked the confirmation of the woman nominated by President Obama to be the next Air Force secretary until the service offers up more information over its plans to cut the A-10 fleet.



Ayotte spokeswoman Liz Johnson said the senator lifted her hold on James’s nomination after she received a second round of responses from the Air Force about potential cuts to the A-10 fleet.



Lawmakers on key defense panels have reached a deal on the annual defense authorization bill that would block the Pentagon from retiring the A-10 fleet. Key senators such as Sen. John McCain, who next year will succeed Levin as chairman of the Senate panel, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican from New Hampshire whose husband was a Warthog pilot….



Senator Ayotte has a personal reason for keeping the plane the pentagon wants to kill…



Joint explanatory statement to accompany the National Defence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (Sec 133)


Air Force to Impose Limits on F-35 Training Flights at Eglin

By Dan Cohen

July 9, 2014

Air Force officials have decided to impose operational limitations on F-35 training flights at Eglin Air Force Base on the Florida Panhandle to reduce noise over the city of Valparaiso, according to a record of decision published Wednesday.

Officials selected the “no action alternative” for the basing of up to 59 F-35s at the Eglin joint training site, which represented the environmentally preferred alternative.

“The Air Force listened to the community’s concerns and worked hard to find a solution that meets mission requirements and also reduces noise impacts,” said Kathleen Ferguson, acting assistant secretary for installations, environment, and energy.

The decision demonstrates the Air Force’s desire to limit impacts on communities around Eglin, Ferguson said.


Valparaiso Settles Suit with F-35 Noise Concerns

By Meagan O’Halloran

Mar 02, 2010

A year and a half ago, every city and town in Okaloosa County was anxious to welcome the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilot training program to Eglin Air Force Base.

Every city except Valparaiso, where residents said they were worried about the additional flights and excessive noise.

his week the Air Force and Valparaiso announced a settlement to the city’s federal lawsuit.
The whole episode has left Valparaiso looking like the villain of the county.
Some call it the “Sound of Freedom”, others call it an ear-splitting nuisance.

Regardless, Elgin Air Force Base will become the new home to 59, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets this fall.
Folks in nearby Valparaiso were worried about the noise the additional five dozen jets will cause.
They decided if they couldn’t stop the jets from coming to Eglin, at least they’d have some say about where at Eglin.


Successful effort to reduce F-35 impact on citizens

By Kelly Humphrey

April 23, 2016

The F-35 and its three variants (the Air Force’s F-35A, the Marine Corps’ F-35B and the Navy’s F-35C) have both ardent defenders and fierce critics in Congress, at the Pentagon, in the defense industry and on the Internet. Thousands of critics and conspiracy theorists have questioned the aircraft’s safety, effectiveness and cost.At first, it seemed as if that controversy might bypass Okaloosa County, where support for the military runs deep.

But not long after the recommendation to build the training center at Eglin was announced, Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold and many city residents began to express concerns about the projected noise levels of the new aircraft.

With plans for dozens of daily takeoffs and landings from a nearby runway, Arnold feared the impact the noise would have on his citizens’ quality of life. The city sued the Air Force twice over the noise concerns.
Both lawsuits were eventually settled, and today Arnold maintains that his issue was never with Eglin, per se.

“Our concern was if the noise levels were too high, it would stop future development in the city, and would negatively impact our homeowners’ property values,” he said. “But that hasn’t turned out to be the case. It’s been noisy at times, but the current level of flights has been tolerable.”

Arnold said there’s no question in his mind that he did the right thing to question the Air Force’s plans, despite the enormous criticism he received from other local politicians and residents who feared the controversy would lead the Air Force to look elsewhere for a home for the program.

He dismisses those who say the subsequent reduction in the number of aircraft from the proposed 107 to less than half of that is directly connected to his city’s actions.

“That was purely a political decision based on available funding,” he insists.

The Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC) recommended that up to 107 jets be stationed at the base, and a multi-million dollar training complex be constructed to serve students from the Navy, Marines and Air Force, as well as international pilots from eight allied countries.


Up in the air: F-35 training program remains strong despite reduction in aircraft

By Kelly Humphrey
April 23, 2016

While the Marine Corps originally trained its pilots at Eglin, last year the branch relocated its school to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, and took its F-35B’s with them. Going forward, F-35B pilots from the United Kingdom will also train at Beaufort.

That leaves less than 50 F-35s at the Eglin training facility.

While that reduction has caused some observers to wonder if the training program is in jeopardy, Okaloosa County Commissioner Wayne Harris isn’t worried.

“There are a lot of reasons that the reduction in planes has happened, and those are mostly due to fiscal constraints,” Harris said.

“The F-35 is a great plane, but it’s very expensive, and they’re still working on getting some of the bugs out of it,” he said. “I believe the training program at Eglin is very secure — the government has too much invested in it. I’m confident it will stay up and running.”

Whether the Navy will continue to train pilots at Eglin is still up for debate, however.


Addendum to Record of Decision for F-35 Beddown at Eglin AFB, FL

April 23, 2015

A one-time, temporary increase in certain F-35 operations is allowed due to required construction-related closure…but only after all mitigations measure have first been implemented and/or exhausted, limited additional F-35 operations up to the number and type of average daily operations.

The DoN is authorized to deliver up to fifteen additional BAI F-35C aircraft, provided VFA-101 continuously monitors F-35C operations to ensure they do not exceed the average daily operations analyzed under the No Action Alternative on a weekly basis.


Richard Joseph: ‘Save the Guard’ – The big lie

By Richard Joseph

September 12, 2016

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — Anonymous

The truth revolution faces fierce opposition in Burlington. In fact, during the past four or five years, Burlington has been subjected to a concerted disinformation campaign touting the supposed benefits of basing the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Burlington’s commercial airport. Lies have been told and repeated by F-35 basing proponents attempting to build public support. Now, in government documents released in conjunction with an ongoing lawsuit against the Air Force, some of the deceit has finally been exposed.


F16 transfer Eielson to Elmendorf

May 2013

Proposed Action: The Air Force proposes to relocate 18 primary assigned and 3 back up F-16 aircraft from EAFB to JBER, Alaska and to adjust EAFB personnel over the following 2 years to reflect reduced base operating support requirements. EAFB is the only Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) base with a one squadron wing. The Proposed Action to consolidate 3 squadrons of fighters under the 3rd Wing would achieve operational efficiencies in the PACAF Pacific Region that would meet both Air Force cost saving
and force-sizing requirements while maintaining current operational capabilities within PACAF.


Alaskan Senator Submits Eight Point Document to USAF Contesting F-16 Proposal

March 1, 2013

As the time closed for comments to be submitted from Alaskans, Senator Lisa Murkowski today delivered a stinging and comprehensive refutation of the flawed United States Air Force proposal to transfer the F-16 Aggressor squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson – in addition to the comments received directly from Alaskans through her “Eielson Closing Argument” online initiative she created before the U.S. Air Force allowed comments to be sent via the Internet.

“I am proud to have been a part of this statewide effort; where the Air Force thought they could pit different regions of our state against one another, Alaskans created a united front,” said Murkowski. “Alaskans came out in Southcentral, Alaskans came out in the Interior and they chimed in via the ‘Eielson Closing Argument’ initiative. In addition to all their voices, my letter today is an attempt to sum up all the best arguments and say ‘case closed.’ Alaskans must be heard, have been heard – and I will work in Washington, DC to make certain the Air Force listens.”


Navy changing plans at Oceana Air Station

September 19, 2008

Proposed sites selected with objective to:
Minimize impacts to landowners and residents
Avoid National Wildlife Areas, wetlands, Important Bird Areas, and Threatened and Endangered species…


Environmental Law Center To File Suit Challenging Navy’s OLF Plan

January 9, 2004

The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing the National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, will file suit in federal court Friday challenging the Navy’s plan to build a military jet landing field in the heart of the Atlantic migratory bird flyway and a few miles from a national wildlife refuge.

The groups say the government’s environmental impact studies for the landing field downplayed the substantial risk of collisions between jets and the large flocks of tundra swans, snow geese and other birds that winter in the area, and minimized adverse impacts to the wildlife refuge.

Citing extensive evidence from wildlife experts, including the scientist who led part of the Navy’s own study, the lawsuit characterizes as “reckless” the plan for a new F/A 18 E/F Super Hornet jet training field within five miles of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina.

The refuge is winter home to some 100,000 large swans, snow geese and other waterfowl known to represent a severe risk to low-flying aircraft and their pilots.


Hundreds drawn to celebrate ruling on OLF

By Kate Wiltrout
Mar 30, 2008

The setting was humble and wholesome, and so was the food. Fresh-cooked pork barbecue, green beans and homemade pound cake, all served on paper plates at picnic tables inside a giant barn.

The people, too, were humble. Even on a Saturday night when they could gleefully have celebrated their David-vs.-Goliath victory over the U.S. Navy, they refrained.

Instead of high-fives, hundreds of people exchanged thanks – first to God, then for one another, and finally, with a standing ovation, to the lawyers who represented them in court.

In fact, some guests even thanked the Navy for bringing them together.

“I don’t want to say, ‘We beat them,'” Ronnie Askew said. “I want to say, ‘With the good Lord’s help, we showed them the error of their ways.'”

Askew was one of about 500 people in this rural community who packed the Beasley family’s barn for what North Carolinians Opposed to the Outlying Landing Field called, “Our Blessed Celebration.”

It was a party more than four years in the making. One, two and three years ago, similar events packed the barn. But those were fundraisers or get-to-know-you gatherings for politicians, journalists and environmental groups they brought together to talk about the cause.

This night was a chance to savor, finally, the battle that reversed the Navy’s decision in 2003 to make 30,000 acres of farmland in Washington County into a place for Navy jets to practice simulated aircraft carrier landings.

In January, Navy Secretary Donald Winter removed Washington County – Site C, in the Navy’s voluminous study – from the service’s list of potential locations.


Super Hornet Final Environmental Impact Statement Released

July 18, 2003

The Secretary of the Navy has released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for introduction of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet to the East Coast of the United States.

The document contains two preferred home basing alternatives, each recommending split basing of 10 Super Hornet squadrons at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., and at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point in N.C. The FEIS also recommends construction of an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in Washington County, N.C., for use in practicing aircraft carrier landings.

Atlantic Fleet Commander, Adm. Robert J. Natter, has recommended the Secretary of the Navy select the alternative that calls for basing eight Super Hornet squadrons (96 aircraft) and one Fleet Replacement Squadron (24 aircraft) at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., and two squadrons (24 aircraft) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina. The second preferred alternative contained in the FEIS recommends basing six squadrons at NAS Oceana and four at MCAS Cherry Point. Both alternatives recommend construction of an OLF in Washington County, N.C.

The recommended basing alternative maximizes existing facilities and limits capital investment requirements at both NAS Oceana and MCAS Cherry Point, providing substantive mitigation of environmental impacts at both sites at an acceptable cost. The geographic proximity of the two bases allows for combined use of training ranges and OLFs by all Super Hornet squadrons, as well as other aircraft based in the area.


Jet Noise Can Make You Rich!

May 16, 2007

Market Watch is reporting the following: “The Justice Department and the U.S. Navy have reached a settlement agreement with approximately 3,400 property owners in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Va., regarding litigation relating to jet noise at a naval air base. Under the terms of the agreement, the participating plaintiffs agree to dismiss their claims and acknowledge that the settlement does not constitute an admission of liability by the United States.

“‘We are pleased that the federal government and residents near the Naval Air Station Oceana and Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, Fentress have been able to reach an amicable resolution in this matter and avoid further litigation,’ said Matthew J. McKeown, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. ‘This resolution signals an end to six years of litigation and provides positive results for the citizens as well as the government.’


Julie Macuga: The true sound of freedom is not an F-35

By Julia Macuga

February 8, 2018

The stack of speaker sign-up sheets for the F-35 ballot item towered at a packed City Hall last Monday night. People from around the state and members of the press crowded the first floor and balcony. People in polished brass mingled with those in salt-stained boots. The session had skipped right to public comment; by my tally, 35 people spoke in support of the issue being placed on the ballot, and five spoke in favor of the F-35’s and against the ballot initiative that would advise for an alternative to these aircrafts.

The winter chill could not freeze the petitioners nor democracy in the weeks leading up to this meeting — over 2,700 signatures, about 1,000 more than the 1,787 required to put the F-35 advisory question on the Town Meeting Day ballot — have made their way to the city clerk.

City Hall filled with murmurs as supporters of the F-35 debate said, “Why are we still arguing this?” I tried to gauge the council and Mayor Miro Weinberger’s reactions as my fellow Vermonters spoke. Despite the Air Force’s 2016 declaration that “… if there is no F-35A operational bed-down at Burlington Air Guard Station, the current mission would continue,” Vice Wing Commander Harder asserted that there would be no alternative mission for them if the F-35’s were stopped. Ray Gonda, a Vietnam veteran who lives near the airport, stated, “Burlington gets the goodies, while I and my neighbors pay the costs … Burlington has profited handsomely [from this project] by acquiring, free of charge, many formerly private-owned properties near the airport in my community.” People spoke about livelihoods, democracy, racism, birds, noise pollution and justice. The council asked the audience to settle down on numerous occasions — but applause, like the noise of jet engines, could not be mitigated.


VT National Guard press conference

February 09, 2018

The leader of the Vermont National Guard has a message for Burlington voters. It’s about a ballot question on the new F-35 fighter jets heading for the Green Mountain Boys next year.

Opponents of the jets pushed for the nonbinding question on the March ballot requesting cancellation of F-35 basing at Burlington airport. Maj. Gen. Steven Cray says even though the measure won’t change the Air Force’s decision on the F-35, he’s speaking out because it could trick voters.


Air Guard pushes back on F-35 ballot measure

By Elizabeth Gribkoff and Mike Dougherty

February 9, 2018

Vermont National Guard officials spoke out on Friday against a ballot measure that will allow Burlington voters to signal opposition to basing F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, Vermont’s adjutant general, said at a press conference that the question “misleads the voter into thinking they are supporting the Air Guard.”


Greg Guma: Claims that F-35 basing will protect jobs are overstated

By Greg Guma

January 25, 2018

In Vermont’s ongoing debate about the basing of F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport the arguments in support often center on balancing noise and other admitted impacts against economic necessities, benefits and fears. But the controversy also raises questions about the real economic impacts of military spending.

In 2012, for example, dire warnings that thousands of Vermont jobs were jeopardized by looming defense cuts and changes in Air Force priorities turned out to be overstated. Speaking at an Air Force public hearing on the F-35 Environmental Impact Statement, Phil Scott, then Vermont’s lieutenant governor, explained that one of his main fears was “that, with all of the talk at the federal level about reducing costs, if the program is not located here, there is a real chance the base could be reduced in size or possibly closed altogether.”


Advocacy group questions F-35s

By Renee Wunderlich
February 8, 2018

Rosanne Greco is a former South Burlington city councilor and a retired Air Force colonel.

She spoke to University of Vermont students Thursday about her work with the advocacy group “Save Our Skies VT.”

Greco said there are a lot of reasons she’s not a fan of the F-35s.

“Health impacts, property value impacts, not to mention the bombardment of this noise on our children,” she said.

But it could be crucial for the Air Guard that the jets arrive next year.

Col. Hank Harder of the 158th Fighter Wing spoke to the Burlington City Council during their last meeting, saying, “… there is no alternative mission for the Vermont Air National Guard. But Greco says that’s not true.

“There are direct contradictions between what the Vermont Air National Guard senior leaders are saying — which is, if we don’t get the F-35s, we’re out of business. We have no mission, no job — and what the United States Air Force has said in their Environmental Impact Statement as well as in court,” she said.

Greco cites documents from the United States Air Force that she says contradict what the Guard says about the need for the F-35’s.


Why Are Democrats and Progressives Pushing the U.S. War Machine in Vermont?

By William Boardman

February 3, 2018

This is a story primarily about corrupt practices by the Burlington City Council, in its headlong determination to force a neighboring city to be the base for a weapon of mass destruction, the nuclear capable F-35 fighter-bomber (in development since 1992, first flown in 2000, still not reliably deployable in 2018, at a cost of $400 billion and counting). Yes, the premise itself is corrupt: Burlington owns the airport in South Burlington, so South Burlington has no effective say in how many housing units Burlington destroys in South Burlington to meet environmental standards for imposing the quiet-shattering F-35 jet on a community that doesn’t want it and won’t benefit from it. The entire “leadership” of the state of Vermont, mostly Democrats, has spent more than a decade making this atrocity happen, with widespread media complicity.


Impact on Winooski

DOD agrees to halt F-15 fighter jet transfers

June 22, 2012

The Department of Defense is telling U.S. Senate leaders that it will stop scheduled Air Force transfers of aircraft until Congress finalizes 2013 budget plans later this year, which could also further prevent those transfers.

The announcement, released by Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, comes as several states become increasingly worried about their Air National Guard units losing aircraft missions.

Montana filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the Defense Department, seeking to stop the military’s transfer of F-15 fighter jets to California. Montana wants assurances that the state will later get its planned replacement mission of C-130 cargo planes.

But political leaders from the Gulf Coast states are threatening action to prevent movement of the C-130s from their states, where they help with hurricane preparedness.

Airstrip proposal could test limits to development

By David Murray
September 22, 2017

Sometime in the next several weeks an environmental assessment study will be completed on the grounds of Malmstrom Air Force Base. If that assessment on a narrow strip of land stretching near dead center through the base doesn’t reveal any big problems, it’s fair to assume that construction on a new dirt airstrip will begin as the weather permits.

The proposed Assault Landing Zone will resemble little more than a runway scratched out of the clay soil that forms the foundation of Malmstrom Air Force Base. Its purpose will be to provide a training ground upon which Montana Air National Guard flight crews can practice C-130 transport aircraft landings and take-offs under similar less-than-ideal runway conditions they might encounter in remote locations throughout the world.


Governor sues over Montana Air National Guard’s loss of mission

June 15, 2012

Gov. Brian Schweitzer filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department on Friday to block any plans to take away the state’s Air National Guard mission without a suitable replacement.

Attorney General Steve Bullock filed the complaint Friday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls. It asks the court to place a hold on the military’s plan to transfer 15 fighter jets to California. It argues that the transfer would violate federal law that requires the governor’s permission before the federal government can make a change in a state guard’s organization.

Schweitzer, as commander in chief of the Montana Air National Guard, is the plaintiff in the lawsuit.


F-35 Fighter Jets: What Would Martin Luther King, Jr. say?

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. say about the proposal to locate F-35 supersonic fighter jets at Madison’s Truax Field Air National Guard base?

In his 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech, Dr. King spoke passionately about the injustice of the growing spending on war—while anti-poverty projects were de-funded. “A Nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death,” he said.

A January. 12, 2018 Cap Times letter to the editor by former Madison Alder J. Michael Shivers called the proposal to base the F-35s at Truax Field in Madison an “outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money.” Each of the 18 jets to be located at Truax costs $150 million dollars—for a total of $270 billion.


F-16 and F-35 Bombers Threaten Cognitive Health of Children in Vermont Town

By James Marc Leas
July 19, 2017

A crisis plagues 976 families in a working-class neighborhood of South Burlington, Vermont. Eighteen screamingly loud F-16 fighter bombers based at Vermont’s main airport are the cause. Worse, the number of families in crisis from this jet noise is set to sharply increase in two years when the Air Force says it will replace the F-16s with four-times-louder F-35 fighter bombers.

The neighboring city of Burlington owns and runs the Burlington International Airport, even though that airport is fully located within South Burlington. The city council of South Burlington has so far restricted itself to adopting a series of polite resolutions regarding the health and safety of the 976 families living in tiny affordable homes in the screeching noise zone of F-16 fighter jets. But these resolutions were all dismissed by Vermont’s political elite who instead successfully lobbied the Air Force to bring on the F-35.

Nor did Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders come to the aid of the largely working-class residents living in the airport neighborhood of South Burlington. Both senators refused even to meet with residents, declaring jet-fighter basing a matter of patriotism or jobs.


Nation “Too Broke” for Universal Healthcare to Spend $406 Billion More on F-35

By Jon Queally
July 10, 2017

There is always another $27 billion lying around, it seems, when Lockheed Martin needs more money for expensive weapons system

The nation’s most expensive weapons program isn’t done showing U.S. taxpayers how much it will ultimately cost them, with Bloomberg reporting Monday that the F-35 fighter jet budget is now predicted to jump by a cool $27 billion.

“Think about [F-35’s] $405 billion price tag when a family member dies of a preventable disease. Get angry.”

Though the estimated future cost of the program had previously hovered at a mind-boggling $379 billion, an updated draft that could be submitted to Congress as early as today will reportedly exceed $406 billion—a nearly 7 percent increase.

The new cost increases may come as a hit to President Donald Trump, who has bragged about his ability to get weapons manufacturers to offer the Pentagon “better deals.”


Government watchdog: F-35 will take millions more, months longer than expected

By Alex Lockie
April 24, 2017

The Government Accountability Office released a report on Mondaywarning the Department of Defense against funding further software updates for the already $400 billion F-35 program until the current software becomes operational.

The F-35 is already operational with the Air Force and Marine Corps, but it runs a limited version of its software, called the 3i block, which only provides 89{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the code required for full warfighting potency.


Delayed testing could add $1 billion to cost of F-35

By Rebecca Kheel
April 24, 2017

Delayed testing could add more than $1 billion to the cost of the F-35 fighter jet program, according to a government watchdog.

In a report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommended completing developmental testing before making “significant new investments” in the program.

“Cascading F-35 testing delays could cost the Department of Defense (DOD) over a billion dollars more than currently budgeted to complete development of the F-35 baseline program,” the report says.


GAO DOD debate claim F-35 software delay will add $1.7 billion

By Kyle Jahner

Law360, Washington (April 25, 2017, 4:05 PM EDT) — Testing delays for the software for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will tack on at least another five months and $1.7 billion to the price tag of a program no stranger to overruns and delays, a government report released Monday said, as the Pentagon and F-35 maker Lockheed Martin pushed back.
In the report, the Government Accountability Office recommended the Pentagon use historical data to reassess the costs of completing the mission systems software known as Block 3F, and to complete Block 3F testing before soliciting proposals for the next phase of the software, Block 4, for a jet that the Department of Defense now projects to have a total procurement cost of around $400 billion.

“If baseline development is not prioritized and adequately funded, and costs increase as predicted by GAO and others, then the program will have less recourse for action and development could be further delayed,” the report said. “In addition, with baseline development still ongoing the program will not likely have the knowledge it needs to present a sound business case for soliciting contractor proposals for Block 4 development in fiscal year 2017.”


Trump McCain take aim at F-35 program

By Aaron Gregg
January 11, 2017

In his first press conference since winning the presidential election in November, Donald Trump again took aim at Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

His latest comments followed a tweet last month about the F-35’s “tremendous cost and cost overruns.” The president-elect said he had asked Boeing to “price out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.”

“We’re going to do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program,” Trump reiterated Wednesday. “And we’re going to get those costs way down, and we’re going to get the plane to be even better, and we’re going to have some competition and it’s going to be a beautiful thing. So we’ve been very very much involved.”

Trump offered few details before moving on. But the 30 seconds or so he devoted to the topic jolted stocks at Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the two companies primarily responsible for the F-35 and F-18 programs respectively, though both recovered throughout the day.


Lockheed Martin tells Trump F-35 costs will be lower

By Aaron Gregg
January 13, 2017

Emerging from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York on Friday, Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson told reporters that the Bethesda, Md.-based defense giant is close to a new contract deal that would cut the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and also create jobs.

“We had the opportunity to talk to [Trump] about the F-35 program, and I certainly share his views that we need to get the best capability to our men and women in uniform and we have to get it at the lowest possible price,” Hewson said. “So I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that we are close to a deal that will bring the cost down significantly from the previous lot of aircraft to the next lot of aircraft and moreover it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to the United States.”


Trump wants at least 10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} cut in F-35 costs

January 18, 2017

The chairman of a key subcontractor in the F-35 program told Bloomberg News Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump wants to reduce the cost of the project by at least 10 percent.

“We’ve been told through Lockheed that the president has an ambition to reduce the cost of the aircraft by a material amount of money, many percent, into the double digits over a period,” Roger Carr, the chairman of BAE Systems Plc, said. “We respect that and we’ll work towards a contribution towards that.”

Trump has been an outspoken critic of the price tag for projects like the F-35 fleet and the new Air Force One.

In December, Trump tweeted that he asked Boeing to “price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet.” He did not go into specific details, but aviation experts pointed out differences in the two planes…for one, the F-18 is not stealth.


Defense Secretary targets costly F-35, Air Force One

By Tom Vanden Brook
Jan. 27, 2017

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered the Pentagon to launch a review on how to save costs on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the Pentagon’s most costly weapons-buying effort in history.

Mattis’ memo, sent on Thursday, also calls on the military to determine whether the F-18 fighter can be modified to provide a “cost-effective fighter aircraft alternative.”

The Defense chief also directed the Pentagon to look for ways to save money for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, which is responsible for developing a replacement for the current presidential aircraft, which goes by the call sign Air Force One when the president is aboard.


F35 Deal-Unlikely to save $

By Mandy Smithberger
January 30, 2017

Following President Donald Trump’s announcement today that Lockheed Martin has cut $600 million from the F-35 program, Dan Grazier, the Jack Shanahan Fellow at POGO’s Straus Military Reform Project, said:

“Although this appears to be a victory for those concerned about out-of-control costs of the F-35 program, these savings don’t really exist. The American people will end up paying even more for the unproven jets in the future.

The so-called savings announced today are little more than the bulk-rate discount for the next yearly purchase of 90 aircraft. If this ‘concession’ is predicated on committing taxpayers to a multiyear buy, it will only further compound the waste of public funds on this program.


Wish List Adds Billions for Aircraft

by Valerie Insinna
January 31, 2017

An update to the US Air Force’s 2017 wish list bumps its unfunded requirements to $10.6 billion, with the service seeking funding for more F-35s and a light attack aircraft experiment, among other new efforts.

Congress has not passed a defense spending bill for 2017, opting instead to extend current funding until April — a tactic that gives the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled legislative branch time to figure out how to direct the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year. The services have responded by enlarging their own unfunded priorities lists to reflect growing demands.


UK faces massive rise in costs to fix stealth fighter

By Ewen MacAskill
Feb. 4, 2017

Britain is being forced to pour millions of pounds of new funds into the troubled F-35 stealth fighter programme being developed in America and considered a vital part of the UK’s future defences.

The F-35, being built by the US in partnership with countries including the UK, is the costliest weapon ever developed by the Pentagon. It is scheduled to go into service in the UK in 2018 and into full production in 2019, and is intended to be a cornerstone of UK defences for decades to come, flying off two new aircraft carriers.

But huge problems remain unresolved, in particular with the F-35’s advanced software, on which the whole project rests. The software is supposed to be the plane’s “brain”, running everything from ensuring a steady supply of parts to relaying masses of data to the pilot’s visor during combat.


What Keeps the F-35 Alive

By David Swanson
November 2, 2016

Imagine if a local business in your town invented a brand new tool that was intended to have an almost magical effect thousands of miles away. However, where the tool was kept and used locally became an area unsafe for children. Children who got near this tool tended to have increased blood pressure and increased stress hormones, lower reading skills, poorer memories, impaired auditory and speech perception, and impaired academic performance.

Most of us would find this situation at least a little concerning, unless the new invention was designed to murder lots of people. Then it’d be just fine.

Now, imagine if this same new tool ruined neighborhoods because people couldn’t safely live near it. Imagine if the government had to compensate people but kick them out of living near the location of this tool. Again, I think, we might find that troubling if mass murder were not the mission.


Navy pollutes water system

DECEMBER 14, 2016

Navy Contaminates Coupeville Wells from Navy OLF Training Site

Residents Warned Against Drinking, Preparing Food with Their Water

The Navy has delivered bottled water and warnings to the first of what may be many homes with contaminated drinking water that are located in the area of the Navy’s Outlying Field (OLF) near Coupeville.

At least two property owners, some of the first who took the Navy up on its offer to have their water wells tested, were notified by phone that their water contained toxic chemicals above EPA Health Advisory Levels.

The Navy’s testing of private and public water wells followed the October 11 discovery of toxic chemicals in an OLF drinking water well that signaled contamination of the underlying aquifer. The fear that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) found beneath the OLF had spread beyond Navy property prompted a November 7 letter to more than 100 private and public drinking water well owners in a one mile radius.


Pentagon buries evidence of $125 Billion in Bureaucratic waste

By Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward
December 5, 2016

The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.


Trump targets F-35 program

By Damian Paletta and Doug Cameron
December 12, 2016

Donald Trump took aim at the Pentagon’s costliest program on Monday, saying on Twitter the “program and cost” of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter “is out of control.”

This is the second defense program in recent days the president-elect has unloaded on for cost issues. Last week, Mr. Trump claimed the government’s second-largest defense contractor, Boeing Co., had run up costs in the development of new Air Force One aircraft.


Trump Tweet Targets F-35 Overruns

By Kyle Midura

December 12, 2016

The battle over bringing the F-35 fighter jet to Burlington took a turn Monday with a tweet by President-elect Donald Trump.

Just before a pair of F-35s touched down in Israel, a tweet from President-elect Donald Trump sent the manufacturer’s stock into a free-fall. “The F-35 program and cost is out of control,” he wrote, “Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.”

The F-35 accounted for 20-percent of Lockheed Martin’s total revenue last year. Morning trading saw shares in the company fall by more than 4-percent.

Some estimates place the cost of designing and building the planes at $400 billion — currently costing more than $100 million per plane.

Eighteen of the planes are set to land in Vermont in 2019. Vermont Air National Guard officials say they won’t speculate on the meaning of Trump’s tweet or what it means for the jets’ future here. They passed our request for comment to the Department of Defense.


F-35 unit cost

By Winslow Wheeler
December 22, 2016

On Dec. 12, 2016, president-elect Donald Trump asserted that F-35 unit cost was “out of control” through his preferred medium Twitter. On Dec. 19, 2016, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, in charge of the Joint Strike Fighter project, gave the press his version of things.

Multiple media outlets passed along the officer’s comments, but with no analysis of the completeness and accuracy of Bogdan’s assertions. The reports offered no context or alternative views on the stealth fighter’s actual cost per plane.

The general said each one of the Air Force’s F-35A would cost $102.1 million, while both the U.S. Marine Corps’ F-35Bs and and U.S. Navy’s F-35Cs would set the taxpayer back 132 million each. Those costs average to approximately $122 million for a “generic” F-35.

Bogdan got these numbers from the funds Congress set aside in the 2015 defense budget for what the Pentagon called “Lot 9,” just one of a number of planned F-35 purchases. In November 2016, the U.S. military was still negotiating the final deal with plane-maker Lockheed Martin.

Needless to say, the unit costs Bogdan gave the media were incomplete.


US Voters Favor Cutting Carrier, F-35, Overall Defense Spending

By Andrew W. Clevenger
March 8, 2016

A majority of Americans favor cutting the US defense budget in five out of seven key areas, including nuclear weapons and missile defense, according to a new University of Maryland survey released March 9.

Nationally, a majority supports modest budget cuts to air power ($2 billion), ground forces ($4 billion), naval forces ($2 billion), nuclear weapons ($3 billion) and missile defense ($1 billion). No majority emerged for either cutting or increasing the budgets of the Marine Corps or Special Ops forces.

In total, a majority of respondents would cut the defense budget by $12 billion. When broken down by party, a majority of Republican respondents would leave the defense budget as is, while the majority of Democrats would cut it by $36 billion (including $11 billion cuts to both air power and ground forces), a larger cut than the $20 billion cut supported by a majority of Independents.


Money for lobbyists to find military missions

By David Wichner
Feb. 28, 2016

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base would start losing its A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets as soon as the fall of 2018 under a new plan to retire the entire A-10 fleet by 2022.

The Air Force said in early February it would delay its proposed retirement of the A-10 ‘Warthog’ – a close-air-support jet that represents a mainstay of D-M operations – until 2022. Earlier attempts by the Air Force to mothball the jet by 2019 were turned back by Congress.

That announcement was cheered by A-10 backers in Congress, including Arizona Sen.John McCainand Rep. Martha McSally ,a Tucson Republican and former A-10 combat pilot, who led efforts that halted A-10 retirements the Air Force had initially sought to start in 2015.


New planes but no more airmen

By Phillip Swarts
Feb. 22, 2016

The Air Force is asking for an increase of $1.3 billion to its main operating budget in fiscal 2017, but it doesn’t increase end strength, according to budget documents released Feb. 9.

Top brass has requested $120.4 billion for FY2017, leaving Air Force end strength to about 490,000 airmen; the service will remain the smallest it has been since it was created. But the Air Force sounded the alarm Feb. 9 about its increasing responsibilities and the budget’s inability to keep up.


Sanders’ position on the F-35 contradicts his views on defense spending

By Sarah Sicard
Jan. 14, 2016

Though Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for spending cuts, he also supports the costliest program ever funded.
Democratic candidate for president and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, seems to have contradictory policies regarding the Defense Department.

Within his platform regarding the military, he suggests that the U.S. military spends too much money on defense, and is known to staunchly oppose military engagement unless absolutely necessary.

In a town hall meeting in Iowa City, Sanders said, “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry. Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government …We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world. But I think we can make judicious cuts.”


Bernie Backs Trillion Dollar Weapon System

By Ben Armbruster
Feb. 17, 2016

As we all know by now, Bernie Sanders is campaigning on a promise to change American politics in such a way that benefits the middle class and working families at the expense of corporate greed and influence.

“I am asking you to be part of a political revolution,” Bernie told his supporters last summer. “A revolution which transforms our country economically, politically, socially, and environmentally.”

While some have wondered how Bernie’s revolution will stand up to the realities of governing should he win the White House, what’s often been overlooked is the fact that the Vermont Independent has had plenty of opportunities to buck the system as a U.S. Senator. He has not always taken those opportunities, instead siding with big corporations at the expense of the taxpayer.

Nowhere is this more evident than his unwavering support for one of the biggest boondoggles in U.S. military history: the F-35.


The Comanche and the Albatross

By Col Michael W. Pietrucha, USAF
May-June 2014

The Air Force intended eventually to replace much of the post-Vietnam fighter fleet with the F-35A. This stealthy aircraft possesses advanced technology and was intended to be no more expensive than the aircraft it was designed to supplant. The Air Force sought to buy 1,763 F-35As—the number required to replace every F-16, A-10, and F-117 then in service. Rather than an affordable, capable fighter aircraft operational in large numbers by 2015, the F-35 continues to arrive late and cost more than anticipated. Program delays, unmet performance requirements, and spiraling costs have recently run full tilt into an austere budgetary environment. Budgetary realities should serve as an impetus to reexamine the Air Force’s participation in the F-35 program and the future of the fighter force.


Thunder without Lightning: The high costs and limited benefits of the F-35

By Bill French

August 2015

The National Security Network (NSN) is pleased to release a new policy report, Thunder without Lightning: The High Costs and Limited Benefits of the F-35. According to our analysis, the F-35 lacks the capabilities to execute its primary mission, and costs too much relative to its predecessors. The Department of Defense should examine ways to reduce its commitment to this albatross of an acquisition program.

From the report:

“To perform against near-peer adversaries, the F-35 will have to be capable of executing a range of missions, from defeating enemy aircraft to penetrating enemy air defenses to strike surface targets. But the F-35 will struggle to effectively perform these missions due to shortcomings in its design and program requirements, despite costing between three and nine times more than the 4th-generation aircraft it is designed to replace.

The F-35 will find itself outmaneuvered, outgunned, out of range, and visible to enemy sensors. Going forward, full investment in the F-35 would be to place a bad trillion-dollar bet on the future of airpower based on flawed assumptions and an underperforming aircraft. To avoid such a catastrophic outcome, Congress and DOD should begin the process of considering alternatives to a large-scale commitment to the F-35. Staying the present course may needlessly gamble away a sizable margin of American airpower at great expense and unnecessary risk to American lives.”


Pentagon to cut purchase of F-35 jets

By Zacks Equity Research

The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that it plans to purchase fewer F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT – Analyst Report) over the next five years, than it had originally planned.

Pentagon’s Plans for the F-35 Jets

Importantly, the Pentagon was forced to cut approximately $4 billion from the F-35 program and other aircraft programs in fiscal 2017, and slash billions of dollars from other procurement accounts to meet the Congress budget deal.

The Pentagon remains committed to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, worth $391 billion, which is the single largest weapons program. However, purchases for the program are expected to slow down a little over the next five years. The Pentagon’s next five-year plan, beginning fiscal 2017 through fiscal 2020, covers the purchase of 299 jets (down by 37 units from the previous expectation). However, the major spurt in orders is not expected to come until the projected purchase of 105 fighter jets in fiscal 2021.


AF plans to keep A-10s and buy fewer F-35s

By Bryant Jordan
Feb 09, 2016

The Air Force on Tuesday released a 2017 budget geared to rebalance the force and counter readiness problems resulting from years of deployments, personnel shortages and sequester-forced spending caps that have cut into modernization programs across the board.

At $167 billion, the service’s budget is roughly $5 billion more than was appropriated for fiscal 2016, according to Air Force figures that show end strength will remain unchanged from the current year at 317,000 airmen.


F-35 production may have to slow

By Aaron Mehta
December 14, 2015

ThePentagonexpectstomake“disproportionate” cuts to modernization and research and development funding in its fiscal 2017 budget request, while personnel and readiness remain stable, according to the department’s top acquisition official. Those cuts may well include a slowdown in F-35 production.

Overall, the cuts could slow down the much ballyhooed “Third Offset” strategy, identified by Defense Secretary Ash Carter as key to maintaining America’s military technological dominance.


Pentagon might cut 2017 F-35 Budget

By Larry Darrell
Dec 3, 2015

Lockheed Martin Corporation’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 project has come under renewed question, as the Pentagon mulls a reduction in its budget for fiscal year 2017 (FY17). The Congress is expected to propose some budget caps that might directly impact the F-35’s budget, as the government spreads its finances toward other projects as well.

Although the total defense budget is not expected to be reduced, the F-35, among various other projects would receive reduced government spending. Frank Kendall, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, announced in an industry conference, “Dollar for dollar it probably gives us more combat capability than any other investment that we’re making, but we’ve got a lot of other things that we need to do as well.”


Bomber cost could upset F-35 plans

By Jeff Schogol
November 10, 2015

The F-35 is going to eat up so much of the Air Force’s procurement budget going forward that the service will likely have to reduce the number of joint strike fighters it buys to pay for other things, such as the Long Range Strike-Bomber, experts said on Tuesday.

As part of the Defense Department’s proposed budget for fiscal 2016, the Air Force would purchase 44 F-35s this fiscal year, 48 in fiscal 2017 and 60 each year from fiscal 2018 through 2020, budget documents show. The total procurement cost of the 1,763 F-35s is about $215 billion.


Lockheed gets $5.37 billion for F-35

By Christopher P. Cavas
November 4, 2015

WASHINGTON — With a preliminary agreement in hand, negotiations between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon for the Joint Strike Fighter Lot IX Joint Strike low-rate initial production contract continue, and a final agreement is expected next month, JSF Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova said Wednesday.

Under an “undefinitized contractual action” (UCA) agreed on Tuesday, $625 million in fiscal year 2015 money is being moved to Lockheed to cover company expenses spent thus far on the Lot IX aircraft. The full contract is being negotiated under a not-to-exceed limit of $5.37 billion.


Trump confuses B-3 with F-35

Trump Confuses Long Range Strike Bomber With F 35  VIDEO    The Daily CallerBy STEVE GUEST
November 5, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who claims to be the “the best in terms of the military,” confused the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program with the B-3 Long Range Strike Bomber program.

Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump if America needs a strategic bomber or “should we just stick with submarines and missiles?” Trump then criticized the beleaguered F-35 program.


Pentagon Re-considers F-35 Buy

November 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — For years, the Pentagon was inflexible when talking about the number of F-35s it wants to buy — 2,443 — pushing back against any suggestions that it should trim that shopping list. But no more.

The high price tag of the F-35, a Lockheed Martin aircraft whose engine is made by Pratt & Whitney, based in East Hartford, Conn., has made some Pentagon officials consider whether the Defense Department can afford as many of the Joint Strike Fighters as they had once planned.


Trump wants to fire F-35

By Tyler Rogoway
October 30, 2015

Presidential candidate Donald Trump is finally offering some specifics when it comes to defense policy, and on conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt’s program today he floated the possibility of cancelling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program if he gets elected.

According to the Air Force Times, Trump said: “When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” He continued, “I do hear that it’s not very good… I’m hearing that our existing planes are better. And one of the pilots came out of the plane, one of the test pilots, and said this isn’t as good as what we already have.”


Trump wants to Fire the F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 30, 2015

Donald Trump wants to tell the F-35 that it’s fired.

The businessman and Republican presidential candidate questioned the wisdom of purchasing the joint strike fighter during an appearance on a conservative radio talk show Oct. 22.

“When they say that this cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” Trump said during an appearance on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.


Airmen See Better Ways to Spend Scarce Resources

By Phillip Swarts
November 2, 2015

Questions about the cost of the F-35 helmet come at a time when budget pressures have forced the Air Force to make radical cuts to end strength, modernization and training. The result is a concern that more than half of the force is “not sufficiently ready” for highend battle, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said.

What’s more, due to forced drawdowns, airmen are struggling to keep up with the pace required to keep planes in the air after more than a dozen years of war.

The result is a weary force aching for a break. That’s led some airmen to look for expensive projects that siphon off the resources they could use to spread the workload, get the proper training — or just relax a bit.


McCain: Have to Reduce F-35 Total Buy

By Aaron Mehta
November 2, 2015

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain, R-Ariz., said Oct. 21 the U.S. will have to cut the numbers of F-35 fighter jets it will purchase.

In a brief comment to reporters, McCain seemed to signal that the total projected buy for the Pentagon’s most costly and ambitious program — 2,443 in total, spread across three models for the Air Force, Marines and Navy — is out of whack with budget realities. He said that cost growth in the program will mean fewer jets overall.

“We’re going to have to reduce the buy,” he said. “The number they are now quoting — there’s just not going to be that many.”


F-35 Helmet Costs $400,000

By Phillip Swarts
November 2, 2015

When the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 Lightning II, finally takes to the skies on its first official mission, it will be one of the most advanced and one of the most expensive planes ever.

And the pilots flying the aircraft will be wearing the most advanced and most expensive helmet ever.

The helmet will give pilots quicker access to the information they need to see and has special cameras to “see” through the bottom of the plane. But it will cost an estimated $400,000 per helmet — more than four times as much as the Air Force paid for head wear for other aircraft such as the F-16.

Helmets for all the F-35s scheduled to be purchased will cost at least $1billion, Air Force Times estimates.


Full-year CR could stifle modernization

By Lara Seligman
October 12, 2015

Top Air Force officials have continued to hammer home the message that if the Pentagon is forced to operate under a stopgap spending measure next year, the service’s ability to buy new aircraft and modernize its existing fleet is in peril.

Congress passed a 10-week continuing resolution Sept. 30 to keep the government operating until Dec. 11. But if the next step is a fullyear continuing resolution, the Air Force’s nightmares may come true.


Cost of F-35 Mentioned on The Ring Of Fire

The cost of the F-35 starts at the 6:10 minute point.

Vago’s Notebook: F-35 Progress

The challenges tend to obscure progress for major programs like the joint strike fighter, but the JSF has been on a winning streak.


Canada’s Liberals Against F-35 Purchase

By Agence France-Presse
September 20, 2015

OTTAWA, Canada— Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said on the campaign trail Sunday that he would scrap the purchase of F-35s — the apparent frontrunner to replace the nation’s aging fleet of fighter jets.

“We will not buy the F-35 fighter jet,” he told a rally in Halifax ahead of Oct. 19 elections.

Taking Lockheed Martin’s F35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters off the table would leave Ottawa with three options: the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and Boeing’s Super Hornet.


Increase Air Force budget or face consequences: Column

By Deborah Lee James
September 25, 2015

At a time when our nation is slashing defense budgets, we face a security environment that is extraordinarily complex and volatile, and our Air Force is busier than ever.

Over the last year, 25,000 Airmen deployed in support of contingencies around the world. They flew almost 20,000 close air support missions and dropped over 3,800 bombs with a 99{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} hit rate. Airmen flew more than 100,000 mobility and tanker sorties offloading almost 200 million gallons of fuel to joint and coalition forces and performed over 900 medical evacuations, including critical lifesaving surgeries in flight. Airmen collected and analyzed 18 million images and 1.6 million hours of video garnered by our air patrols, performed over 9,000 cyber operations protecting critical networks and launched 11 space missions.


Military Operations Damage Communities and Environment

By Steven Aftergood
Aug.11, 2015

The environmental impacts of military operations are increasingly becoming factors in the planning and execution of military activities.

“The military has a new appreciation for the interdependence between military missions, the global community, and the environment,” according to a newly revised and reissued Army doctrinal manual. See Environmental Considerations, ATP 3-34.5, August 10, 2015.

Of course, military operations by their nature are not environment-friendly. “The primary mission of the military is to fight and win wars. Warfare is destructive to humans and to the natural environment.”

[Full Article]

After sprawl threatened relocation, plan to keep Oceana deemed a success

By John Holland
August 19, 2015

Predictions of doom bounced around City Hall in the summer of 2005 and landed on the front page in bold, desperate headlines. People were scared, and for good reason.

Oceana Naval Air Station and its 12,000 jobs were on the Defense Department’s critical list, threatened with closure in large part because the surrounding area had become too residential, too commercial and, ultimately, too dangerous: too dangerous for the fighter pilots who practiced landings and maneuvers that they’d use fighting two wars, and too dangerous for the residents who could be wiped out if anything went wrong on those training missions.

[Full Article]

Lockheed Received $431 million to support F-35 Production Ramp Up

Aug 5, 2015

Lockheed Martin has received $431 million for special tooling and test equipment to support the ramp up of F-35 production over the coming years.

The hefty sum was awarded as a modification to the current Lot 8 production contract, and comes as Lockheed and the Pentagon negotiate the purchase of approximately 150 domestic and international aircraft in Lots 9 and 10.

[Full Article]

More F-35 Training Systems Ordered from Cubic Global Defense

By Richard Tomkins
Aug. 20, 2015

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Cubic Global Defense is to produce and enhance the Air Combat Training System in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the company has announced.

Included in the work contracted by Lockheed Martin Aerospace is the addition of an internally mounted sub-system of the P5 Combat Training System, or P5CTS, that enables the F-35 to maintain its stealth characteristics while training.

[Full Article]

Pentagon denies F-35 numbers

By Aaron Mehta
August 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is not conducting a formal review of F-35 planned procurement numbers, a spokesman said Tuesday, despite comments by the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that indicate otherwise.

In written testimony for his nomination hearing last month, Gen. Joe Dunford seemed to signal that a review of the total projected buy of the F-35 — 2,443 in total, spread across three models for the Air Force, Marines and Navy — was underway.

[Full Article]

The most expensive weapon in history must get more affordable – The Boston Globe

By The Editorial Board
July 30, 2015

THINKING BIG doesn’t always pay, especially when it comes to military procurement. Complex, aspirational weapons systems are irresistible to military brass, because they keep budget dollars flowing for years on end. Members of Congress like them too, especially when they can locate a manufacturing facility inside their district.

But weapons systems with too many new bells and whistles get mired in cost overruns, delays, and technical challenges. All too often, they take so long to develop that they are no longer cutting edge when they come on line. That’s the case with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a state-of-the-art radar-eluding plane set to take to the skies this month after several years of delay. The plane, which was commissioned in 2001, has been beset with engine problems, software glitches, and flaws in its fuel system. Each issue that had to be fixed drove up the cost. Today, the F-35 costs roughly twice what the US military thought it would back in 2001.

[Full Article]

Secretary of the Air Force acknowledges wide range of problems with the F-35

By Richard Sisk
Jul 28, 2015

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has admitted to a wide range of past and present problems with the F-35 while maintaining that the fifth-general will eventually guarantee the U.S. continued air supremacy over rivals.

“The biggest lesson I have learned from the F-35 is never again should we be flying an aircraft while we’re building it,” James said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado last week.

[Full Article]

Military Carbon Footprint

By Lisa Savage
July 12, 2015

I oppose wars and militarism of policing because they are morally wrong. People suffer from state-sponsored violence in their lives and I do not want to fund it, tolerate it or ignore it.

But “join me in opposing war because it is wrong” is not a very effective message in these times.

One must counter immense spending on propaganda constantly persuading fellow citizens that investment in weapons of mass destruction, and basing an economy on “security” and surveillance, makes everyone safer. Along with regularly orchestrated (and well-funded) terror events and squads designed to keep fear high.

[Full Article]

Okinawins pay residents for military aircraft noise

June 11, 2015

The Okinawa branch of the Naha District Court ordered the government on Thursday to pay some ¥754 million in damages to residents near the Futenma air base because of aircraft noise.

Some 2,200 plaintiffs who live close to the controversial U.S. base in Ginowan complained of mental distress, poor sleep and disruption to their daily lives.

[Full Article]

Is the F-35 worth the cost?

By Zachary Cohen
July 16, 2015

Three years behind schedule and some $200 billion over its original budget, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is finally set to become operational this month.

The fighter jet has been in development for nearly 15 years, weathered half a dozen years of testing and experienced myriad hardware malfunctions and software glitches along the way. Once it’s declared ready for combat, it will be the most expensive weapons system in world history.

[Full Article]

Pentagon to purchase $47 billion F-35

By the Motley Fool
July 12, 2015

For all its troubles, Lockheed Martin’s (NYSE:LMT) F-35 joint stealth fighter remains a very popular warplane — both here and abroad.

Over the next 60 years, Lockheed Martin aims to sell as many as 5,100 F-35s to customers around the globe. And as we just learned from DoDBuzz, one single Pentagon contract could bring Lockheed 10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the way toward scoring that goal.

What’s the buzz? In the course of last month’s Paris Airshow, reports DoDBuzz, Lockheed revealed that it’s currently negotiation with the U.S. Pentagon to win an order for 500 F-35 stealth fighter jets. This “block buy” of fighter jets would cover more planes than the Pentagon needs right now. In fact, it would stretch across three years’ worth of orders, from 2018 through 2021.

[Full Article]

AF to use Reserves as F-35 Maintainers

By Brian Everstine
July 9, 2015

The Air Force plans to turn to the Air Force Reserve for manpower to bring the F-35 online after Congress blocked the service’s attempt to free up maintainers through retirement of the A-10, the head of Air Force Reserve Command said Tuesday.

“The active duty has a pretty significant shortage in maintainers, and keeping the A-10 means that those maintainers will have to stay with those [units] and not be able to retrain,” Lt. Gen. James Jackson said at an Air Force Association speech in Arlington, Virginia.

[Full Article]

Air Force would like to replace the A-10 but doesn’t have the funds

By Brian Everstine
April 22, 2015

The Air Force wants a less costly next-generation aircraft for close air support to replace the A-10, but there is no funding available for it and there likely will not be in the future, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Wednesday .

Given a better budget environment, the service would want a new aircraft that could primarily focus on providing close support for ground troops, carry a lot of ordnance and do so more cheaply than other aircraft in the service’s fleet, Welsh said. But it is not a realistic proposal today, he said.

[Full Article]

Keeping A-10 means F-35 delays, F-16 cuts

By Brian Everstine
April 28, 2015

If not allowed to retire the A-10, the Air Force says it will have to send F-16s to the boneyard and delay plans for the F-35 because there aren’t enough airmen to maintain both fighters.

If lawmakers succeed in passing a bill requiring the Air Force to keep the A-10 in its fleet for another year, too few maintenance personnel would available to stand up the first operating unit of the F-35 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and even fewer to continue maintenance of the F-16, the service told congressional staff in a recent briefing. The base is expected to begin receiving F-35s later this year.

[Full Article]

New Red Alert for Billions-Over-Budget F-35 Fighter

By Brianna Ehley
April 27, 2015

Federal auditors are once again sounding alarms over the Pentagon’s embattled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which has soared hundreds of billions of dollars over budget.

Besides being the Defense Department’s most expensive weapons program ever, countless problems with the F-35, including design and systematic issues, have continually pushed back the ready-for-combat date. It is now years behind schedule.

[Full Article]

David Axe Summarizes the F-35 Experience

By David Axe
April 25, 2015

From all the recent sounds of celebrating coming out of Washington, D.C., you might think the Pentagon’s biggest, priciest and most controversial warplane development had accelerated right past all its problems.

The price tag —currently an estimated $1 trillion to design, build and operate 2,400 copies—is steadily going down. Production of dozens of the planes a year for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps is getting easier. Daily flight tests increasingly are hitting all the right marks.

[Full Article]

Ship built by Navy for F35 needs significant upgrades

By Tyler Rogoway
April 13, 2015

The Navy’s USS America, the first of her class, was controversially optimized to handle the F-35, leaving out the multi-purpose well deck traditionally found on ‘Gator Navy’ flattops. Now, just months after her commissioning, she already needs 40 weeks of upgrades just to handle the very aircraft she was designed for.

The F-35 program has become something of a dark comedy. Yes, it has huge fiscal and national security implications, but sometimes you just have to laugh at how big of a fumbling mess it really is.

[Full Article]

USAF Plans for Radical F-35 Upgrade Reveal Obsolescence

By Giovanni de Briganti
April 8, 2015

PARIS — US Air Force plans to replace the F-35 fighter’s avionics, radar and engines are an implicit admission that the current aircraft is already obsolete and that, despite a unit cost of over $250 million, it cannot match the latest foreign fighters coming into service.

This is the first time a customer acknowledges that the obsolescence of the F-35’s sensors has degraded the aircraft’s still unproven nominal capabilities to the point that a radical upgrade is necessary, more than a year before it enters service.

[Full Article]

Not Ready for Prime Time DOT&E Report: The F-35 is not ready for IOC and won’t be any time soon

March 12, 2015

Inside-the-Beltway wisdom holds that the $1.4 trillion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is too big to cancel and on the road to recovery. But the latest report from the Defense Department’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) provides a litany of reasons that conventional wisdom should be considered politically driven propaganda. The press has already reported flawed software that hinders the ability of the plane to employ weapons, communicate information, and detect threats; maintenance problems so severe that the F-35 has an “overdependence” on contractor maintainers and “unacceptable workarounds” (behind paywall) and is only able to fly twice a week; and a high-rate, premature production schedule that ignores whether the program has demonstrated essential combat capabilities or proven it’s safe to fly. All of these problems are increasing costs and risks to the program. Yet rather than slow down production to focus resources on fixing these critical problems, Congress used the year-end continuing resolution omnibus appropriations bill—termed the “cromnibus”—to add 4 additional planes to the 34 Department of Defense (DoD) budgeted for Fiscal Year 2015. The original FY2016 plan significantly increased the buy to 55, and now the program office is further accelerating its purchase of these troubled planes to buy 57 instead.

[full article]

Physiological, Motivational, and Cognitive effects of Aircraft Noise on Children

Physiological, Motivational, and Cognitive effects of Aircraft Noise on Children,” by Sheldon Cohen, et al, American Psychologist, Vol. 35 No. 3, March 1980, Describes a peer reviewed study showing that children attending noisy schools – in an air corridor of Los Angeles International Airport – have higher blood pressures and perform more poorly on cognitive tasks than do children attending quiet schools. The study also shows that the negative effects of aircraft noise on the performance and health of these school children do not diminish over time.

A follow-up study of effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on child stress responses and cognition

A follow-up study of effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on child stress responses and cognition,” Mary M Haines, et al, International Journal of Epidemiology (2001)  30 (4): 839-845. “Results and Conclusions: At follow-up chronic aircraft noise exposure was associated with higher levels of annoyance and perceived stress, poorer reading comprehension and sustained attention, measured by standardized scales after adjustment for age, social deprivation and main language spoken.”

Santa Monica Airport Health Impact Assessment

Santa Monica Airport Health Impact Assessment,”  UCLA Community Health and Advocacy Training Program, Adrian Castro, et al, February 2010, “Levels of noise due to plane and jet take-offs from Santa Monica Airport are above Federal Aviation Airport thresholds. Excessive noise is associated with: hearing loss, higher levels of psychological distress, and impaired reading comprehension and memory among children.”

Noise Exposure Standards to Prevent Hearing Loss

Occupational Noise Exposure,”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) noise exposure standards to prevent hearing loss. For the 115 decibel noise level of the F-35 (Air Force Environmental Impact Statement ES-11) the maximum exposure to prevent hearing loss is 28 seconds. These are adult standards. Children are far more vulnerable.

noise-exposure-durations solve-puzzle-noise

Children and Noise – World Health Organization

Children and Noise,” World Health Organization

The Revised Environmental Impact Statement Errors Discount F-35 Noise Health Impacts

What the Air Force tells us in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

New Data: How Much Does an F-35 Actually Cost?

By Winslow Wheeler
An Air Force F-35A costs $148 million, each.
A Marine Corps F-35B costs $251 million.
A Navy F-35C costs $337 million.
A “generic” F-35 costs $178 million (the average for the three models).
These are production costs only; additional expenses for research, development, test and evaluation are not included.  The dollars are 2015 dollars.
Explanation and elaboration follow.
Find this piece at Medium.com’s War Is Boring at https://medium.com/war-is-boring/how-much-does-an-f-35-actually-cost-21f95d239398 and below.
How Much Does an F-35 Actually Cost?
The F-35 is not just the most expensive warplane ever, it’s the most expensive weapons program ever. But to find out exactly how much a single F-35 costs, we analyzed the newest and most authoritative data.
Here’s how much we’re paying.
A single Air Force F-35A costs a whopping $148 million. One Marine Corps F-35B costs an unbelievable $251 million. A lone Navy F-35C costs a mind-boggling $337 million. Average the three models together, and a “generic” F-35 costs $178 million.
It gets worse. These are just the production costs. Additional expenses for research, development, test and evaluation are not included. The dollars are 2015 dollars. This data was just released by the Senate Appropriations Committee in its report for the Pentagon’s 2015 appropriations bill.
Except for the possibility that the F-35 Joint Program Office might complain that the F-35A number might be a little too low, these numbers are about as complete, accurate and authoritative as they can be.
Moreover, each of the other defense committees on Capitol Hill agree or-with one exception-think each model will be more expensive. The Pentagon’s numbers for these unit costs-in every case-are higher.
The methodology for calculating these F-35 unit costs is straightforward. Both the president’s budget and each of four congressional defense committees publish the amounts to be authorized or appropriated for each model of the F-35, including the number of aircraft to be bought.
The rest is simple arithmetic: Divide the total dollars for each model by the quantity.
Purchase price
There are just two things F-35 watchers need to be careful about.
First, it’s necessary to add the funding from the previous year’s appropriation act to the procurement money the government allocated for 2015. This is “advance procurement” for 2015 spending, and pays for “long lead” components that take longer to acquire.
Second, we have to add the cost of Navy and Air Force modifications.
For the F-35, these costs are for fixing mistakes already found in the testing process. With the aircraft still in its initial testing, the modification costs to existing aircraft are very low. But the 2015 amounts for modifications are surrogates for what the costs for this year’s buy might be. If anything, this number can be an under-estimate.
The Senate Appropriations Committee sent its report to the printer on July 17, and that data is informed by the latest advice from the Pentagon, which is routinely consulted for the data the committee is working with. The Pentagon is also given an opportunity to appeal to change both data and recommendations.
Accordingly, of the four congressional defense committees, the Senate Appropriations Committee numbers are the most up to date. For the most part, these numbers are also the lowest.
The data from all four defense committees, the Pentagon’s budget request, and the final 2014 appropriations-all for the F-35 program-are in the table at the end of this article. This data is the empirical, real-world costs to buy, but not to test or develop, an F-35 in 2015.
They should be understood to be the actual purchase price for 2015-what the Pentagon will have to pay to have an operative F-35.
It’s very simple, and it’s also not what program advocates want you to think.
In a briefing delivered to reporters on June 9, F-35 developer Lockheed still advertised the cost of airplanes sans engines. Highly respected Aviation Week reported on July 22 that taxpayers put up $98 million for each F-35A in 2013.
In reality, we actually paid $188 million.
Some of these numbers are for the airframe only. In other cases, you get a “flyaway” cost. But in fact, those airplanes are incapable of operative flight. They lack the specialized tools, simulators, logistics computers-and much, much more-to make the airplane useable. They even lack the fuel to fly away.
Rising costs
Here’s another curious fact. The unit costs of the Marines’ short-takeoff, vertical-landing B-model and the Navy’s aircraft-carrier-capable C-model are growing.
The cost of an F-35B grew from $232 million in 2014 to a bulging $251 million by 2015. The cost of the Navy’s F35C grew from $273 million in 2014 to a wallet-busting $337 million by 2015.
The quantity numbers for the F-35B have not changed, remaining at six per year. The number of F-35Cs to be produced has slipped from four to two, but surely learning processes on the F-35 line have not been going so far backward as to explain a 23 percent, $64 million per unit cost increase.
Something else is going on.
That something just might be in the F-35A line. Note the 15 percent decline in the F-35 unit price from 2014: from $174 million to $148 million. The units produced increase from 19 to 26, which Bogdan repeatedly explained will bring cost reductions due to “economy of scale.”
However, is that what’s really occurring in the F-35A line, while F-35B and F-35C costs are ballooning? Should not some of the benefit in F-35A production efficiency also show up on the F-35B and F-35C? Lockheed builds all three on the same assembly line in Fort Worth.
It could be that the F-35B and F-35C are bearing the overheard-or other costs-of the F-35A.
Why else would an F-35B with a stable production rate increase by $19 million per unit, and how else could the cost to build an F-35C-in production for six years-increase by $64 million per unit?
Even those who reject that someone might be cooking the books to make F-35A costs look as good as possible to Congress-and all-important foreign buyers-there should be a consensus that the program needs a comprehensive, fully independent audit.
Surely, an audit will help Congress and Pentagon leadership better understand why F-35B and F-35C prices are going up when they were supposed to be going down-and to ensure there is nothing untoward going on in any part of the program.
The defense world is full of price scams, each of them engineered to come up with the right answer for whoever is doing the talking.
Next time an advocate tells you what the current unit cost is for a program, ask: “What is Congress appropriating for them this year?” And, “How many are we buying?” Then get out your calculator. The result might surprise you.
The aforementioned mentioned table follows:
2015 Congressional Defense Committee and DOD Recommendations for F-35 Procurement
($Millions, 2015 Dollars)
2014 Appropriations
(2014 Dollars)
2015 DOD Request
F-35A Procurement
Previous Year AP
Modification of Aircraft
Subtotal $
Unit Cost
F-35B Procurement
Previous Year AP
Modification of Aircraft
Subtotal $
Unit Cost
F-35C Procurement
Previous Year AP
Modification of Aircraft
Subtotal $
Unit Cost
Grand Total $
Generic F-35 Unit Cost
Winslow T. Wheeler
Straus Military Reform Project
Center for Defense Information
Project On Government Oversight
301 791-2397 (home office)
301 221-3897 (cell)
[email protected]

Important Update – Please Read This!


Dear SOSVT Allies and Friends:

The official USAF Record of Decision was announced on December 2, 2013 to locate the first-ever basing of a new warplane, the F35s, with an Air Guard unit that is situated in a densely populated residential area in South Burlington, VT.   Defying all measures of common sense and safety, this marks the first time that a new warplane has ever been based in a residential area.

The manipulation of data, misinformation, and dismissal of scientific studies, which predict significant environmental damage to our Vermont communities and its people, by well-appointed politicians, corporate proponents, and the local military were key factors in this decision.  But most influential of all was Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who was determined to bring home this pork “prize” for the Vermont Air National Guard, despite the destructive damage from the F35s that will be felt most intensely in the communities surrounding the airport.

Although substantial scientific evidence,  including studies from the USAF itself, points to damage to the health, safety and property values of Vermont citizens, Sen. Leahy merely tells us that, in his opinion, it won’t be too bad or cause harm, and that we are “just going to have to trust him on this”.

But according to the World Health Organization, the damage will disproportionately impact thousands of Vermonters, whereby 50{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of those impacted children will suffer cognitive learning disabilities.   In addition, the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke for all who are subjected to the F35s impact will increase.

No problem, say Sen. Leahy!   He says the “honor” of bringing the F35s to Vermont is worth it, despite the health impact on vulnerable populations and loss of property values.   What a tragedy for our state and its people!

Once the basing decision was announced, our best means to continue fighting this inappropriate and out-of-scale basing are our legal options.

F-35 opponents in December 2012 requested that Burlington, which owns the airport, obtain an Act 250 permit in order to require the Air Force to mitigate the noise impacts of the new jet.   The Act 250 permitting process is Vermont’s landmark land-use law that is designed to “mitigate the effects of development through an application process that addresses the environmental and community impacts of projects.”

Recently, Vermont State’s Environmental court judge denied the request by F35 opponents that Burlington obtain a land-use permit to host the fleet of F-35 fighter jets.  The judge decided that proposed changes at the Vermont Air National Guard base that would be made to accommodate the jets do not warrant an Act 250 permit.

In reality, according to the US Air Force’s study, the F35s will make over half of the city adjoining the airport “unsuitable for residential use”!  If ever there was a case for Vermont’s Act 250 law addressing an environmental impact of a project on a community, this is it!

We will continue this fight to the Vermont Supreme Court to appeal the decision, as well as working to raise the awareness of the fraudulent, corrupt waste of the F35s program on a national level.   Please click here to donate to help fund this fight! 

We are not alone in our fight!  We are encouraged to note that opposition from other densely-populated residential communities against these loud, untested aircraft is being organized in places like Valparaiso, FL., Boise, ID., Tucson, El Mirage and Wittman, AZ, Beaufort, SC, Key West and N. Tampa, FL, as well as western Maine.   The list is growing as other states organize to protect their neighborhoods against the projected intense damage from the proposed basing of the F35s in their areas.

In addition, anti-F35 campaigns are being waged internationally as seen in protests in Italy, Australia and the Netherlands that have been attended by thousands of residents fighting against the colossal waste of the over-budget, under-performing, problem-plagued F35s program that is corporate welfare for the military defense contractor, Lockheed Martin.

So please keep voicing your opposition, and keep our mission of stopping the F35s basing alive with your words and donations!   By signing petitions, contacting your Congressional delegation and newspapers, the Governor of Vermont, the Mayor of Burlington and your local elected representative to give your feedback and concerns, you will continue to work towards protecting Vermont and its people from the devastation of the F35s.

Give money for the legal campaign, keep your voices strong, and don’t give up the fight!  


  1. If you haven’t seen it yet, even Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have highlighted the waste and fraud of the F35 and wasteful military spending on their shows.  We are reaching out to more national media outlets to continue to expose this flawed and unnecessary squandering of your taxpayer monies and our country’s misplaced priorities.

Stephen Colbert looks at the latest examples of this absurd way of spending money, especially a fighter jet called the F-35:


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead

F-35 is destroying jobs

Ask a Keynesian: With U.S. Borrowing Capped, Won’t More Pentagon Spending Destroy Jobs?

Robert Naiman, Huffington Post

I claim that the following is a basic economic fact, which all Keynesian economists should readily acknowledge: in the current federal budget political context, in which federal borrowing is capped under the Budget Control Act, and repealing the BCA’s borrowing cap is not under serious consideration; and in which increased taxes on the super-rich, like a Wall Street speculation tax, are not considered politically viable in Washington, unnecessary Pentagon spending destroys American jobs.

Before explaining why we know this fact to be the case, let’s consider two related reasons why this fact matters a great deal right now: the Burlington F-35 basing fight and the apparent return of the proposed federal budget “Grand Bargain.”

In Burlington, Vermont, the city council, which owns Burlington International Airport, is considering a resolution to ban the basing of the noisy, dangerous, problem-plagued F-35 warplane at the city-owned airport.

Read rest of article at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/ask-a-keynesian-with-us-b_b_4059484.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

What to Believe:

Click here to download pdf.



Positions on the F-35A can be based on objective facts or subjective opinions. Listed below are the facts and opinions as stated by the opponents and supporters of the F-35A.


The facts, as stated by the opponents, come from government documents and professional health organizations, which are based on research and scientific studies. All references are cited.


The opinions come from ads, letters, and statements in the press from individuals. Since no source documents were provided to substantiate their statements, one can regard their views as being their own personal opinions or conjecture.






I would unquestionably object to the potential F-35 basing in Vermont if I believed F-35 noise would make Winooski or South Burlington unlivable. But I don’t believe that will be the case. I am not willing to sacrifice any Vermont community for a new fighter jet….In fact, I support the F-35 because I believe its impacts, taken together, will make local communities more vibrant through increased investment.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 22, 2012)


When asked by reporter, Mark Johnson “Is there anything you could hear that would change your mind and make you oppose this?” Leahy responded “Sure, if it was, if it came, if the report showed that this was a danger to our communities then, ah, of course, I would.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, May 2013)


“…F-35 flight operations may represent 6 minutes of minimal inconvenience 4 days a week….”

(Open letter in BFP, October 4, 2012, signed by Pomerleau, Davis, Boardman, MacKenzie, Russell, Nedde, Simoneau, Reilly, Fay, Weisburgh, Michaels)







There is sufficient evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies linking the population’s exposure to environmental noise with adverse health effects. Therefore, environmental noise should be considered not only as a cause of nuisance but also a concern for public health and environmental health.”

(WHO p. xvii)


There is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population.” (WHO p. 105)


Noise is generally described as unwanted sound….Noise analysis thus requires assessing a combination of physical measurements of sound, physical and physiological effects, plus psycho-and socio-acoustic effects. The response of different individuals to similar noise events is diverse and influenced by the type of noise, the perceived importance of the noise, its appropriateness in the setting, the time of day, the type of activity during which the noise occurs, and the sensitivity of the individual.” (RDEIS p. 3-6)


There are several points of interest in the noise annoyance relation. The first is DNL of 65 dB. This is a level most commonly used for noise planning purposes and represents a compromise between community impact and the need for activities like aviation which do cause noise. Areas exposed to DNL about 65 dB are generally not considered suitable for residential use. The second is DNL of 55 dB, which was identified by USEPA as a level ‘…requisite to protect the public health and welfare with an adequate margin of safety,’ (USEPA 1974) which is essentially a level below which adverse impact is not expected. The third is DNL of 75 dB. This is the lowest level at which adverse health effects could be credible (USEPA 1974). The very high annoyance levels correlated with DNL of 75 dB make such areas unsuitable for residential land use.” (DEIS p. C-14/15)


“…Federal Interagency Committee (Department of Defense, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency, and Veterans Administration) published guidelines relating DNL to compatible land uses…In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB…” (RDEIS p. C-12-13)


The Air Force recognizes that some individuals may feel that they have experienced a reduction in quality of life; however, impacts to quality of life are not possible to quantify, since any potential measurement would be based on a set of subjective experiences that are highly variable among individuals. The EIS does provide several indicators, such as the percentage of the population that would be highly annoyed by noise, as an estimate to predict quality of life impacts.” (RDEIS p GO-17)


The EIS quantifies areas and residential populations subject to noise levels of 65 dB DNL or greater in this manner because land use compatibility guidelines, as defined by FICUN and adopted by the DoD, indicate that residential areas subject to these noise levels would be considered incompatible unless additional noise level reduction measures were implemented. Individuals within areas designated as incompatible have an increased potential for annoyance….” (RDEIS p. GO-17)


Other studies have reported hearing losses from exposure to aircraft noise.”

(RDEIS p. 30)


Since the CHABA (a NIOSH and USEPA commissioned group) report (in 1981), there have been further studies that suggest that noise exposure may cause hypertension and other stress-related effects in adults.” (RDEIS p. C-26)










When asked by reporter, Mark Johnson “Is there anything you could hear that would change your mind and make you oppose this?” Leahy responded “Sure, if it was, if it came, if the report showed that this was a danger to our communities then, ah, of course, I would.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, May, 2013)


If the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) or the Department of Education felt there was any impact on children…they would have closed down Chamberlin long ago.”

(Pam Mackenzie, South Burlington City Council Chair, July 2013)


…there will be no adverse health effects on citizens.”

(Green Ribbon postcard, July 2013)






Children who were chronically exposed to aircraft noise…had modest (although significant) increases in blood pressure, significant increases in stress hormones, and a decline in quality of life.” (RDEIS p. 30)


The research reviewed does suggest that environments with sustained high background noise can have variable effects, including noise effects on learning and cognitive abilities and reports of various noise-related physiological changes. “ (RDEIS p. C-28)


In 2002 ANSI refers to studies that suggest that loud and frequent background noise can affect the learning patterns of young children. “ (RDEIS p. C-28)


It is generally accepted that young children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of background noise. Because of the developmental status of young children (linguistic, cognitive, and proficiency), barriers to hearing can cause interference or disruptions in developmental evolution.” (RDEIS p. C-28-29)


It has been suspected for many years that children’s learning and memory are negatively affected by noise. Over 20 studies have shown negative effects of noise on reading and memory in children…” (WHO p. 45-53)


Exposure during critical periods of learning at school could potentially impair development and have a lifelong effect on educational attainment.”

(WHO p. 45-53)


The Haines and Stansfield study indicated that there may be some long-term effects (to children) associated with exposure….” (RDEIS p. C-29)


“…there is increasing awareness that chronic exposure to high aircraft noise levels can impair learning. This awareness has led the WHO and a NATO working group to conclude that daycare centers and schools should not be located near major sources of noise, such as highways, airports, and industrial sites.”

(RDEIS p. 29)


A growing body of scientific knowledge demonstrates that children may suffer disproportionately from environmental health risks and safety risks.”

(Executive Order 13045)






In my opinion, based on local history, a subjective assessment that it will not have negative impact in the future can be made.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General-Air, 16 July 2012)


We have concluded that the basing of the F-35 will not add any significant negative impact to real estate values…”

(Open letter in BFP, October 4, 2012, signed by Pomerleau, Davis, Boardman, MacKenzie, Russell, Nedde, Simoneau, Reilly, Fay, Weisburgh, Michaels)


A GBIC analysis of data over a ten-year period showed “that property values within the current 65 DNL area have followed and reflected the overall trend of the County and of the real estate markets outside of the 65 DNL areas.”

(GBIC letter to SB City Council Chair, 24 July 2012)




In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB, and the extent of land areas and populations exposed to DNL of 65 dB and higher provides the best means for assessing the noise impacts of alternative aircraft actions.” (RDEIS p. C-13)


The study concludes that noise by itself has been shown to decrease property values by a small amount.” (RDEIS p. SO-67)


Property within a noise zone (or Accident Zone) may be affected by the availability of federally guaranteed loans. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Administration (VA) guidance, sites are acceptable for program assistance, subsidy, or insurance for housing in noise zones of less than 65 dB DNL, and sites are conditionally acceptable with special approvals and noise attenuation in noise zones greater than 65 dB DNL. … HUD, FHA, and VA recommend sound attenuation for housing in the higher noise zones and written disclosures to all prospective buyers or lessees of property within a noise zone (or Accident Potential Zone). (RDEIS p. C49-50)


One paper…suggested a 1.8 to 2.3 percent decrease in property value per dB (increase)….their reviews found that decreases in property values usually range from 0.5 to 2 percent per dB increase of cumulative noise exposure. “

(RDEIS p. C-50)


“…the EIS acknowledges the potential and extent of noise from the F-35A has to affect property values.” (RDEIS p. GO-17)


Regarding the GBIC study: “The data on which the Winooski analysis rests are ‘extremely small’ and thus ‘statistically unreliable’. In seven of the 10 years studied, no more than five residential properties changed hands (in Winooski). Only nine homes in (South Burlington) were sold to private buyers during the years included in the GBIC study….Over the past decade, the FAA has purchased about 90 houses in that designated excessive-noise zone. Subsequently, they were either demolished or slated for demolition.” Thus, virtually all of the homes used in the GBIC study were purchased with federal money for demolition because of the noise. Dozens of legitimate studies on the impact of airport noise on property values all come to the same conclusion: property values are damaged by high noise.

(Allen & Brooks Inc.)


NOTE: “The appraisal of the property to be acquired shall disregard any decrease or increase in the fair market value of the real property caused by the project for which the property is to be acquired…”



An analysis of 110 home sales in and outside the Burlington noise zone found the average difference in sale prices was 15{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} or $33,534. Homes within the noise zones sold for 15{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} — or on average $33,534 — less than comparable homes outside the noise zone. “The difference is identified as the average amount per property attributable to the negative impact of airport noise on residential property value.”

(Larson Appraisal Company)


The seller has a duty to disclose any issues he or she may be aware of….the seller should disclose any problems as truthfully and accurately as possible (on the Seller’s Property Information Report—SPIR). The SPIR was developed by the Vermont Association of Realtors as a way to cut down on lawsuits by buyers against sellers. Whether or not a SPIR is filled out, if it is later discovered the seller was aware of problems and did not disclose them to the buyer, it could be considered misrepresentation or omission under Vermont Consumer Fraud Act, 9 V.S.A. 2451-2480” (Vermont Property Owners Report, Feb-March 2013)


A real estate disclosure policy would be developed for land uses within the 65 dB DNL contour, and implemented through revisions to zoning ordinances (ROA Section II. C. 15). Status: Not implemented. The Airport has not actively encouraged the use of Real Estate Disclosures for properties within the 65 dB DNL contour but will be working with the City of South Burlington and the City of Winooski in that regard.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 16)








One fact that is known is that that the F35 will be somewhat louder during take-off for approximately six minutes a day, four days a week.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General, 16 July 2012)


It’s going to be similar to the annoyances and impacts we’ve had with the F-16 for the past 25 years.”

(Brigadier Dick Harris, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, VTANG, June 6, 2013)


“…I do not believe that the F-35 is significantly louder than the F-16, especially when the afterburner is not deployed.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, February 13, 2013)


“…the F-35 will create sound similar to the F-16, there will be 2,613 fewer operations per year…”

(Green Ribbon postcard, July 2013)


Cioffi said he did not think the noise level of the F-35 would be any different from that of the F-16s that the new jets would replace, based on research by GBIC and on his own personal observation. ‘The two aircraft are so similar that we expect the experience of the F-35 to be the same as the F-16.’

(Frank Cioffi, Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. President, June 4 2013)


“…F-35 flight operations may represent 6 minutes of minimal inconvenience 4 days a week….”

(Open letter in BFP, October 4, 2012, signed by Pomerleau, Davis, Boardman, MacKenzie, Russell, Nedde, Simoneau, Reilly, Fay, Weisburgh, Michaels)




Table 6.7 in the Executive Summary shows the F-35A would be between 17 dB and 20 dB greater in SEL and between 21 dB and 25 dB greater in Lmax than the F-16 during takeoff and arrival, directly over the receiver at an altitude of 1,000 ft and at an altitude of 1,500 ft over the receiver on a downwind leg of a local pattern operations. As explained in Appendix C, Section C1.1 a change in (single-event) sound level of 10 dB is usually perceived by the average person as a doubling (or halving) of the sound’s loudness. Concur regarding sound pressure doubling with every 3 dB change and by a factor of 10 for every dB change.”

(RDEIS p. NS-40)


The effect of the reduction in flight operations (referring to scenario 2) would be offset by the F-35A producing a single-event departure SELs 17 dB greater than the F-16s at Burlington AGS…The contribution of civilian aircraft would be negligible compared to the military aircraft contribution.” (RDEIS p. BR4-33)


The effect of the reduction in flight operations (referring to scenario 1) would be offset by the F-35A producing a single-event departure SELs 7 to 17 dB greater than the F-16s at Burlington AGS…The contribution of civilian aircraft would be negligible compared to the military aircraft contribution.” (RDEIS p. BR4-28)


A change in sound level of about 10 dB is usually perceived by the average person as a doubling (or halving) of the sound’s loudness, and this relation holds true for loud sounds and for quieter sounds. “ (RDEIS p. C-2)


The cumulative nature of DNL means that the same level of noise exposure can be achieved in an essentially infinite number of ways….Areas exposed to noise levels between DNL 65 dB and 75 dB are “normally unacceptable,” and require special abatement measures and review. Those at 75 dB and above are “unacceptable” except under very limited circumstances.”

(FAA Part 150 Report p. 5)


Pages C1 through C58 of the RDEIS explain noise, noise modeling, noise metrics, and noise effects. Damage from noise is based on amplitude, frequency, time averaging, maximum sound level, peak sound level, sound exposure level, equivalent sound level, day-night average sound level, number of events above a threshold level, time above a specified level, duration, intensity, unpredictability and the cumulative effect of the noise. (RDEIS p. C1-58)


USEPA (in 1974) identified DNL of 55 dB as ‘ requisite to protect public health and welfare….” (RDEIS p, C-18)


When considering intermittent noise caused by aircraft overflights, a review of the relevant scientific literature and international guidelines indicates that an appropriate criteria is a limit on indoor background noise levels of 35 to 40 dB Leq, and a limit on single events of 50 dB Lmax.” (RDEIS p. C-20)


The Time Above (TA) metric quantifies the amount of time the noise level would be equal to or greater than a selected threshold Maximum Sound Level (Lmax); but the DoD noise model used for this EIS is not yet capable of estimating TA. The EIS provides Maximum Sound Level (Lmax) data for the F-35 and F-16; Table BR3.2.1 as an example.” (RDEIS p. NS-32)


There are several points of interest in the noise annoyance relation. The first is DNL of 65 dB. This is a level most commonly used for noise planning purposes and represents a compromise between community impact and the need for activities like aviation, which do cause noise. Areas exposed to DNL about 65 dB are generally not considered suitable for residential use. The second is DNL of 55 dB, which was identified by USEPA as a level ‘…requisite to protect the public health and welfare with an adequate margin of safety,’ (USEPA 1974) which is essentially a level below which adverse impact is not expected. The third is DNL of 75 dB. This is the lowest level at which adverse health effects could be credible (USEPA 1974). The very high annoyance levels correlated with DNL of 75 dB make such areas unsuitable for residential land use.” (DEIS p. C-14/15)







Basing the F-35A in our state would create jobs, spur economic growth, and increase investment opportunities for Vermont businesses.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, February 13, 2013)


Job losses are always hard, but it is important to remember that Vermont currently has the third lowest unemployment rate in the country. Many employers in Vermont are ready to hire those with the skills and education….”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 12, 2013 regarding the IBM layoffs)


My opinion on the F-35 has not changed…All I can tell you is my support for the F-35 is based upon the thousands of jobs it creates.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 4, 2013)





Under ANG Scenario 1 there would be no net change in the number of military personnel. Therefore, there would be no change to military payrolls or any subsequent impacts to regional employment or income …Additional taxes would accrue…as a result of the increase on construction activities. These impacts, while beneficial, would be minor.” (RDEIS p. BR 4-77)


ANG Scenario 2 would result in an increase of 266 military personnel: an increase of 83 full-time and 183 part-time traditional guardsmen…Traditional guardsmen generally hold full-time jobs outside the ANG and train at least one weekend per month and two additional weeks per year with the ANG. …As any increases in secondary employment as a result of the increase in personnel would also be minor and ….would not affect short-or-long-term regional employment and income trends.… Additional taxes would accrue…as a result of the increase on construction activities. These impacts, while beneficial, would be minor (RDEIS p. BR4-78-79)


MG Dubie said that the Air Guard would lose maintainer jobs if the F-35A were to be based at the VTANG. At least half of the full-time Air Guard jobs are maintainer jobs.

(Public Hearing, April 19, 2010 at the 45-minute period of the hearing)







We feel strongly that we can mitigate those impacts (noise problems) by working with the community on the noise issues.”

(Brigadier Dick Harris, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, VTANG, June 6, 2013)




Land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative that would eliminate the residential incompatibility.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 29)


“…noise barriers provide little, if any reduction, of noise from aircraft that are airborne and can be seen over the barrier.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 35)


Therefore noise barriers are not recommended for inclusion in the Part 150 program at this time.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 36)


Therefore, soundproofing is considered the least desirable alternative for addressing sound in residential dwellings.” (FAA Part 150 Report p. 46)


“…the Air Force and Air National Guard have no plans to acquire or demolish residences as part of the F-35A beddown.” (RDEIS p. BR4-17)


“…the Burlington AGS would continue to undertake the voluntary restrictions outlined in the Burlington Noise Compatibility Program Update (BTV NCP 2008). The F-35As would maintain the quiet hours, keep within the specified arrival and departure routes and procedures, as well as ensure that single F-35A flights are flown out of the airport as opposed to simultaneous (or formation) takeoffs.” (RDEIS p. BR4-17)


No other extra-ordinary mitigation measure are required beyond those prescribed under existing federal and state laws, regulations, and permit requirements to minimize, avoid, or reduce impacts. “ (RDEIS p. BR4-18)


“…the Air National Guard is one of the dominant noise contributors to the DNL contours, as documented in the August 2006 NEW Update…”

(FAA Part 150 Report p. 21)







“…over six hundred members of the Air Guard live in the surrounding communities of the airport….and there are over four hundred full time jobs and six hundred part time jobs at the VT Air Guard.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General, 16 July 2012)


I would rather protect the mission of the citizen soldiers of the Vermont Guard and maintain 1,100 jobs here in Vermont rather than in South Carolina or Florida.”

(Senator Bernie Sanders, April 20, 2013 and July 26, 2013)


The Vermont Air National Guard is a key driver of Vermont’s economy with 1,500 jobs currently attributable to its strong presence.”

(Representative Peter Welch, July 26, 2013)


Although I cannot predict what will happen to the Air Guard if the F35 is not based in Vermont, I can definitely say that the unit’s mission will be different and most likely will require a lot less personnel.”

(Brigadier General Steve Cray, Assistant Adjutant General, 16 July 2012)






Therefore, if there is no F-35A operational beddown at Burlington AGS the current mission would continue.” (RDEIS p. PA-47)


At each location, there are on-going and currently planned activities and programs that would continue, whether or not the location is chosen for beddown of the F-35A operational aircraft.” (RDEIS p. 2-29)


The Air Force plans to upgrade all 1,018 of its F-16s and 175 F-15C/D Eagles to keep them flying until the F-35A joint strike fighter is fully operational and new weapons systems on the F-22 Raptor are installed, according to the 2014 budget request released April 10. In the fiscal 2014 budget request, the Air Force states the service life extension for all F-16s will add eight to 10 years to each airframe, along with upgrades to the fighter’s radars, cockpit displays and other communications interfaces.” (Air Force Times, April 23, 2013)


The Air Force is already using service life extension programs to keep F-16s flying while the F-35A are delayed. These jets have seen extensive use in Iraq and Afghanistan and will continue to fly until at least 2030 while the F-35As stand up.” (Air Force Times, May 13, 2013)










I feel strongly that none of our state’s Congressional delegation should put our fingers on the scale. All Vermonters deserve to be heard, and I do not want to tamper with the fair and open public comment process.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 22, 2012)


What I’ve seen of it, there’s nothing that changes my mind.”

(Senator Patrick Leahy, June 4, 2013, responding to the Revised Draft EIS)


My opinion on the F-35 has not changed…All I can tell you is my support for the F-35 is based upon the thousands of jobs it creates.”

(Governor Peter Shumlin, June 4, 2013)




Other basing factors include, but are not limited to; aircraft production, government budget constraints, national defense policy and political considerations.” (RDEIS p. PI-54)

Prior to the scoping meetings, the Air Force initiated contact with possible interested and affected government agencies, government representatives, elected officials, and interested parties in the states potentially affected…” (RDEIS p. 1-8)

The Air National Guard and the Air Force are working with local and state officials to address specific questions and issues associated with the proposed basing of the F-35A at Burlington International Airport.” (RDEIS p. PI-51)

“…federal, state and local agencies, as well as members of the public, are invited to comment on the Draft EIS.” (RDEIS p. PI-55)






Source documents for facts:

  • WHO: World Health Organization: Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise, 2011
  • DEIS and RDEIS: Revised 2013 Draft (and 2012 Draft) United States Air Force F-35A Operational Basing Environmental Impact Statement
  • Executive Order 13045: Presidential Order on the Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, 2003
  • USEPA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • FAA: Federal Aviation Administration
  • Vermont Property Owners Report
  • Air Force Times
  • Allen & Brooks, Inc.
  • Larson Appraisal Company (July 2013)

Source documents for opinions:

  • GBIC Report (July 2012)


The facts come from government and health care organizations. The U.S. Air Force Environmental Impact Statement took years to prepare, and millions of dollars to complete. It was prepared by “resource and technical experts in their various fields as noted by their education and years of experience.” (RDEIS p. PI-54) The WHO report contains over 300 scientific meta-analysis studies, which then underwent peer reviews.

The opinions come from those who would benefit economically or politically from the F-35A basing.

The opinions contradict the facts. Both cannot be correct.

Believe government and health organizations — or politicians, big businesses, and developers.

It is your choice. Make an informed one. (August 2013)

Download the F-35A Basing Fact Sheet

Click here to download the pdf: Fact Sheets on F-35A Basing 8-9-2013

Burlington Vermont Air Guard Station

F-35A Basing

Fact Sheets


(August 2013)



I. NEGATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS of F-35A Basing at Burlington Air Guard Station


A. BASIC FACTS2013 Revised Draft Environment Impact Statement (RDEIS)


  1. McEntire JNGB in South Carolina is the environmentally preferable alternative base (Page 2-30).


  1. There are negative impacts to the Burlington area in the following categories: noise, air quality, land use, socioeconomics, environmental justice/protection of children, community facilities and public services, ground traffic and transportation, climate change, cumulative effects, and irreversible commitment of resources (RDEIS).




  • Noise levels increase under both scenarios (scenario 1 bases 18 F-35As; scenario 2 bases 24 F-35As). “In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB….” (Page C-13).


  1. Baseline conditions (current F-16s) and F-35A impacts (based on 2010 U.S. census data) are as follows:


  • Baseline (F-16s) affects 1,963 acres; 371 residential acres; 1,966 households; 4,602 people; 463 (10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) low-income and 581 (13{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) minorities; 11 receptors
  • Scenario 1: 2,252 acres; 564 residential acres; 2,963 households; 6,663 people; 1,064 (16{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) low-income and 748 (11{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) minorities; 16 receptors
  • Scenario 2: 2,635 acres; 667 residential acres; 3,410 households; 7,719 people; 1,224 (16{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) low-income and 856 (11{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}) minorities; 17 receptors


NOTE: AF reports that 4,692 children live in South Burlington and Winooski; but they did not report how many children live and/or go to school in the noise zone. Local assessors estimate there are about 1,500 children in the noise zone.


  • Today: 1,963 acres; 1,966 households; 4,602 people; 463 low-income; 581 minorities; 11 receptors
  • Scenario 1: 2,252 acres; 2,963 households; 6,663 people; 1,064 low-income; 748 minorities
  • Scenario 2: 2,635 acres; 3,410 households; 7,719 people; 1,224 low-income; 856 minorities

(Pages BR 4-22, 4-28, 4-33, 4-66, 4-80-83)


  1. Of the other Air Guard bases under consideration in the RDEIS, only Burlington has an increase in base residential land use impacts. For example, the residential impact increases by 80{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} in Burlington. It decreases by 100{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} at McEntire, SC, and decreases by 71{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}at Jacksonville, FL (Page ES-70).


    • At Jacksonville AGS: 45 households and 170 people (scenario 1); or 57 households and 210 people (scenario 2) will be affected by the F-35A basing (Page ES-29).
    • At McEntire JNGB: 91 households and 245 people (scenario 1); or 120 households and 321 people (scenario 2) will be affected by the F-35A basing (Page ES-37).






  1. The F-35A is a new type of aircraft; historical trends show that mishaps rates of all types decrease the longer an aircraft is operational and as flight crews and maintenance personnel learn more about the aircraft’s capabilities and limitations….” (Page ES-12).


  1. Accident Protection Zones are established at military airfields to delineate recommended surrounding land uses for the protection of people and property on the ground.” These areas in the vicinity of an airfield “have the highest potential to be affected if an aircraft mishap were to occur.” “Similar to APZs, but used at civilian airports, RPZs (Runway Protection Zones) are trapezoidal zones extending outward from the ends of active runways at commercial airports and delineate those areas recognized as having the greatest risk of aircraft mishaps (crashes), most of which occur during take-off or landing” (Page 3-26).


  1. “…there have not been enough flight hours to accurately depict the specific safety record for this new aircraft” (Page 3-28).



C. HEALTH IMPACTS of Noise on Adults and Children


  1. The RDEIS uses decades old studies regarding the health impacts to adults and children. More recent studies show overwhelming evidence that noise causes physical and psychological harm to human beings. In the case of children, there is convincing evidence that noise, in particular, aircraft noise, cause cognitive impairment in children.


  1. A growing body of scientific knowledge demonstrates that children may suffer disproportionately from environmental health risks and safety risks” (Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, 2003).


  1. Even using old data, the RDEIS still cites studies reporting physical harm from noise.


  • Other studies have reported hearing losses from exposure to aircraft noise” (RDEIS Page 30).


  • Since the CHABA (a NIOSH and USEPA commissioned group) report (in 1981), there have been further studies that suggest that noise exposure may cause hypertension and other stress-related effects in adults” (RDEIS Page C-26).


  • Children who were chronically exposed to aircraft noise…had modest (although significant) increases in blood pressure, significant increases in stress hormones, and a decline in quality of life” (RDEIS Page 30).


  • The research reviewed does suggest that environments with sustained high background noise can have variable effects, including noise effects on learning and cognitive abilities and reports of various noise-related physiological changes“ (RDEIS Page C-28).


  • In 2002 ANSI refers to studies that suggest that loud and frequent background noise can affect the learning patterns of young children“ (RDEIS Page C-28).


  • It is generally accepted that young children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of background noise. Because of the developmental status of young children (linguistic, cognitive, and proficiency), barriers to hearing can cause interference or disruptions in developmental evolution” (RDEIS Page C-28-29).


  • The Haines and Stansfield study indicated that there may be some long-term effects (to children) associated with exposure….” (RDEIS Page C-29).


  • “…there is increasing awareness that chronic exposure to high aircraft noise levels can impair learning. This awareness has led the WHO and a NATO working group to conclude that daycare centers and schools should not be located near major sources of noise, such as highways, airports, and industrial sites” (RDEIS Page 29).


  • More recent studies including those compiled and reviewed in the 2011 World Health Organization Report, “Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise” show overwhelming evidence of harm caused by noise.


  • There is sufficient evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies linking the population’s exposure to environmental noise with adverse health effects. Therefore, environmental noise should be considered not only as a cause of nuisance but also a concern for public health and environmental health” (WHO Page xvii).


  • There is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population” (WHO Page 105).


  • It has been suspected for many years that children’s learning and memory are negatively affected by noise. Over 20 studies have shown negative effects of noise on reading and memory in children…” (WHO Page 45-53).


  • Exposure during critical periods of learning at school could potentially impair development and have a lifelong effect on educational attainment” (WHO Pages 45-53).



D. ECONOMIC IMPACTS of Noise on Residents


  1. In general, residential land uses normally are not compatible with outdoor DNL values above 65 dB…” (RDEIS Page C-13).


  1. HUD, FAA, and VA recommend written disclosures to all prospective buyers or lessees of property within this noise area (RDEIS Pages C-49-50).


NOTE: “The seller has a duty to disclose any issues he or she may be aware of….the seller should disclose any problem as truthfully and accurately as possible (on the Seller’s Property Information Report—SPIR). The SPIR was developed by the Vermont Association of Realtors as a way to cut down on lawsuits by buyers against sellers. Whether or not a SPIR is filled out, if it is later discovered the seller was aware of problems and did not disclose them to the buyer, it could be considered misrepresentation or omission under Vermont Consumer Fraud Act, 9 V.S.A. 2451-2480” (Vermont Property Owners Report, Feb-March 2013).


  1. Properties in noise areas over 65 dB DNL may not be eligible for federally guaranteed loans, program assistance, subsidy, or insurance (RDEIS Pages C-49-50).


  1. One study showed a 1.8 to 2.3{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} decrease in property values per dB increase of cumulative noise exposure (RDEIS Page C-50).


  1. Another study showed decreases in property values usually range from 0.5 to 2{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} per dB increase of cumulative noise exposure (RDEIS Pages C-50).


6. “…the EIS acknowledges the potential and extent of noise from the F-35A has to affect property values” (RDEIS Page GO-17).


7. There are dozens of economic studies related to noise on property values. Virtually every study, including an FAA study, concludes that airport noise has a negative impact on property values.


    • Locally, an independent appraisal company conducted an analysis of 110 South Burlington homes purchased under the FAA buyout program. The average home in the 65 dB DNL noise zone lost 15{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} (approximately over $33,000) in value because of its location (Larson Appraisal, Airport Noise Impact on Residential Property Values, July 2013).


    • A study, conducted by the GBIC, who has been outspoken in favor of the F-35A basing, concluded that noise levels did not affect property values. The study was seriously flawed.


      1. It did not address whether the homes were located in the noise zone.


      1. Its sample size was extremely small: (15 homes in 10 years in Winooski and 9 homes in 10 years in South Burlington sold to private individuals).


      1. It included the FAA buy-out sales in South Burlington as “evidence” that homes are selling well and at market value.


        • FAA buyouts require market value purchases; and the appraisal value of the house specifically excludes the fact that the house is located near an airport.
        • These homes were purchased because they were the noise zone of the F-16.


      1. It grouped all sales (condo, single family homes, etc) together, thus distorting the sale price of single-family homes.



8. In South Burlington, 180 homes were identified as being in the 65 and higher dB DNL noise zones for the F-16 (2008 FAA report Page 29).


  • The FAA Part 150 Update, dated April 2008, states “…the Air National Guard is one of the dominant noise contributors to the DNL contours, as documented in the August 2006 NEM Update….” (FAA Page 21).


  • Land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative that would eliminate the residential incompatibility” (FAA Page 29).


  • “…noise barriers provide little, if any, reductions of noise from aircraft that are airborne and can be seen over the barrier” (FAA Page 35).


9. The FAA report states what the Burlington airport was required to do…and then finds it did not take the appropriate action. “A real estate disclosure policy would be developed for land uses within the 65 dB DNL contour, and implemented through revisions to zoning ordinances (ROA Section II. C. 15). Status: Not implemented. The Airport has not actively encouraged the use of Real Estate Disclosures for properties within the 65 dB DNL contour but will be working with the City of South Burlington and the City of Winooski in that regard” (FAA Part 150 Report Page 16).


  1. To date, over 127 affordable homes in South Burlington have been demolished because of their proximity to the airport and the noise from military aircraft. Another 54 are awaiting demolition because of F-16 noise.









II. ECONOMIC MYTH: It will bring jobs and benefit the area economically.


  1. RDEIS states there is NO economic gain under scenario 1. There would be no increase in jobs (Page BR4-77).


  1. RDEIS states there would be only “minor” economic effect from the 266 additional military persons (83 full-time and 183 part-time) that would be added under scenario 2 (Page BR4-78 and 4-79).


        1. Some or all of the 83 full-time military could be transferred here from other places around the U.S. (Page BR4-78).
        2. The 183 part-time jobs would likely be filled through local recruitment (Page BR4-78).


  1. MG Dubie said that the Air Guard would LOSE maintainer jobs if the F-35A were to be based here, but he did not say how many jobs would be lost (public hearing, April 19, 2010).


    1. The F-35A will not be maintained at the Burlington Air Guard Station, as is the F-16. The F-35A will be maintained at a centralized location.
    2. At least half of the full-time VT Air Guard jobs are maintainer jobs.




A. TIME MYTH: The F-35A will cause noise for only six minutes a day, four days a week, and this is a minor inconvenience.


  1. The RDEIS spends 58 pages, and cites 184 references and studies explaining noise, noise modeling, noise metrics, and noise effects (Pages C1-58). The noise metrics include:
  • maximum sound level (Lmax)
  • peak sound level
  • equivalent sound level (Leq)
  • sound exposure level (SEL)
  • day-night average sound level (DNL)
  • onset-rate-adjusted monthly day-night average sound level (Ldnmr)
  • number-of-events above a threshold level (NA)
  • time above a specified level (TA)


2. The RDEIS analyzes noise effects on the following:

  • non-auditory health
  • annoyance
  • speech interference
  • sleep disturbance
  • hearing impairment
  • performance
  • learning and cognitive abilities
  • children
  • domestic animals and wildlife
  • property values
  • structures
  • terrain
  • cultural resources


3. The F-35A will fly 7,296 operations annually under scenario 2, and 5,486 operations annually under scenario 1, with all occurring during environmental daytime hours (between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.) 260 days per year (Page BR4-4).


4. Using Air Force projections of 7,296 F-35A operations over 260 days per year, residents will experience unsafe noise levels 28 times per flying day, or one-to-two times per waking hour.


5. Ads claiming six minutes of noise per day count only F-16 takeoff noise, ignoring noise produced on landing and during overhead pattern events from F-16s and other aircraft. But even just six minutes a day is more than 12 times the safe standard.




B. NOISE LOUDNESS MYTH: The F-35A will sound similar to the F-16.


1. The RDEIS states the F-35A would be between 17 dB and 20 dB greater in SEL; and between 21 dB and 25 dB greater in Lmax than the F-16 during takeoff and arrival….” (Page NS-40). F-16 take-off noise in military power setting is 94 dB Lmax; F-35A take-off noise in military power setting is 115 dB Lmax (Page BR4-21).


2. “A change in sound level of about 10 dB is usually perceived by the average person as a doubling (or halving) of the sound’s loudness….” (Page C-2).


3. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that the safe time for 115 dB (assessed F-35A noise on take-off) is 14 seconds. 


4. The RDEIS says even though F-35A flight operations would be less than the F-16 flight operations, “The effect of the reduction in flight operations would be offset by the F-35A producing a single-event departure SELs 17 dB greater than the F-16s at Burlington AGS” (Pages BR4-28 and 4-33).


5. Any claim that draws conclusions from a single incident of noise ignores science and health studies that show damage from noise is cumulative; and even just a few minutes of tremendous noise, repeated over time, has significant health consequences.  Recent scientific analysis clearly shows that extended exposure, even at small intervals, to excessive noise causes irreparable health damage. 


  • Damage from noise is based on amplitude, frequency, time averaging, maximum sound level, peak sound level, sound exposure level, equivalent sound level, day-night average sound level, number of events above a threshold level, time above a specified level, duration, intensity, unpredictability and the cumulative effect of the noise (RDEIS Pages C1-58).


  • The cumulative nature of DNL means that the same level of noise exposure can be achieved in an essentially infinite number of ways….Areas exposed to noise levels between DNL 65 dB and 75 dB are “normally unacceptable,” and require special abatement measures and review. Those at 75 dB and above are “unacceptable” except under very limited circumstances” (FAA Part 150 Report Page 5).


  • When considering intermittent noise caused by aircraft overflights, a review of the relevant scientific literature and international guidelines indicates that an appropriate criteria is a limit on indoor background noise levels of 35 to 40 dB Leq, and a limit on single events of 50 dB Lmax” (RDEIS Page C-20).


  • USEPA (in 1974) identified DNL of 55 dB as ‘ requisite to protect public health and welfare’….” (RDEIS Page C-18).





C. NOISE MITIGATION MYTH: The Vermont Air Guard can mitigate the noise.


  1. According to the FAA Part 150 Report, “Land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative that would eliminate the residential incompatibility” (FAA Part 150 Report Page 29).


  1. Neither the Air Force nor the Air Guard has “plans to acquire or demolish residences as part of the F-35A beddown” (RDEIA Page BR4-17).


  1. The only mitigation measures listed in the Air Force report are to operate the F-35A in the same manner as the F-16s: keeping the same flight schedule, employing single takeoffs, and not flying at night (Page BR4-17).


  1. Yet, F-35A supporters claim the Air Guard pilots can fly the F-35A quieter than the F-16.


  • The Air Force report clearly states the F-35A is 3-4 times louder than the F-16.
  • The Air Guard cannot reduce the noise of the F-16, which they have flown for decades.
  • In fact, the noise of the F-16 has increased in recent years, and the pilots are unable to mitigate the noise of the plane they now fly.
  • How credible then is their claim to alter the noise of a plane they have never flown?




IV. FUTURE OF THE VERMONT AIR GUARD MYTH: If the F-35A does not come here, the

Guard Station will close.


  1. The Air Force stated that “…if there is no F-35A operational beddown at Burlington AGS the current mission would continue” (RDEIS Page PA-47).


  1. No public official (military, government, or politician) has EVER said the base will close if the F-35A is not based here. (Scare tactics imply the base will close.)


  1. MG Dubie said in a press conference in July 2012, that if the F-35A does not come here, the base MAY get SMALLER (meaning the Air Guard).


  1. BG Cray stated at a press conference in July 2013 that he could not predict what would happen to the Air Guard if the F-35A is not based in Vermont, but he did say that the unit’s mission would be different and most likely would require a lot less personnel.


  1. However, in April 2013, the Air Force announced it was upgrading all of the F-16s to keep them flying until the F-35A is fully operational. The Air Force stated it intends to keep the F-16s flying until at least 2030.


  1. Nonetheless, there are other missions for the Air Guard, including drones, anti-terrorism missions, and cyber security.


  1. The F-35A basing does not affect the VT Army Guard, which comprise the majority of the Vermont National Guard.


    • The Army Guard has approximately 4,000 members.
    • VT Air Guard is authorized 1,130 members: 730 part-time military (one weekend a month), and 400 full-time military and civilians members. BG Cray stated that over six hundred members of the Air Guard live in the surrounding communities of the airport.
    • Guard members often come from other states to serve their monthly weekend Guard duty. It is unclear how much of the reported $53 million in salaries are paid to Vermonters.


  1. Even were the Air Guard Station to close, it’s doubtful that it would have a significant economic impact on our area. Over the past three years, our area added 4,250 new jobs (1,400 new jobs per year).


9. Two possible outcomes are:


  • The Air Guard Station closes entirely 20 years from now, and 400 Air Guard members lose their full-time jobs, and 730 Air Guard members lose their part-time (one weekend a month) jobs.
  • The F-35As arrive here five years from now, and 1,500 of our children suffer physical and cognitive impairment, over 7,719 local residents lose their quality of life, a decrease in home values, and are trapped in houses that the federal government labels unsuitable for residential use.


10. Comparison to the closing of the former Plattsburg AFB is absurd.


    • Plattsburgh was an active duty base with over 5,000 full-time active duty personnel, in an area (Plattsburg) with a population of around 20,000.
    • The Burlington Air Guard Station has 400 full-time personnel, in an area with a population (Burlington and South Burlington) of around 60,000.
    • The economy of Plattsburgh recovered in half of the time expected (12 years versus the estimated 25 years).




V. NATIONAL SECURITY/ GUARD SUPPORT/ PATRIOTISM MYTHS: National Security, Guard Support, Patriotic duty depend on the F-35A being based here


A. National Security

  1. Military experts, politicians, and academics agree that the current major threats to the U.S. are terrorism and cyber-warfare.
  • Fighter-bombers have no role in countering these threats in the U.S.


  1. The only threat from military aircraft comes from Russia and China.
  • Vermont is a poor location to respond to these threats.
  • Current F-16s are more than sufficient to defend the U.S.; are more reliable, have better performance characteristics, and cost 75{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} less than the F-35A.


  1. The F-35A can and might carry nuclear weapons.
    • This makes an F-35A base a huge target for terrorists/other enemies.
    • AF has had recent problems with nuclear weapons security.



B. Vermont Air Guard Support


  1. Supporting the Guard means looking long-term. Actively recruiting and accepting new missions which counter current and future threats to our democracy is the best way to ensure a stable future for the VT Air Guard.


  1. Supporting the Guard means providing all the services our Guard families need when their Guard member is deployed, and most importantly all the services the guardswomen and guardsmen and their families need when they return to Vermont from war zones.



C. Patriotism


  1. Patriotism does not mean blindly accepting whatever weapon system defense contractors propose and politicians support.


  1. Patriotism does not mean bankrupting our country so huge defense contractors can stay in business.


  1. Patriotism does not mean that defense contractor executives and shareholders should be the ones who profit most from astronomically expensive weapon systems.


  1. Patriotism means supporting what is best for our citizens, including a good job for all who can work, a health system that cares for all regardless of economic status, education that allows all individuals to reach their potential, social security in their old age, and safe housing for everyone.


  1. Patriotism means supporting our troops and ensuring that they and their families are taken care of financially and medically. Yet our government is planning to pay for costly and questionable weapon systems, such as the F-35A, by reducing (firing) military personnel; eliminating civilian jobs; freezing military salaries; cutting our troops’ benefits; slashing their families’ benefits; increasing veterans’ health care costs; and cutting programs for homeless, disabled, and unemployed veterans.






A. PURPOSE of the Scoring Sheet


  1. The Air Force devised a scoring methodology to explain how bases were chosen. This was done to preclude future disputes and lawsuits such as the one filed against the F-35A basing at Eglin AFB, in Florida. It was intended to bring more transparency to the process.


  1. The scoring sheet rated the bases in four areas: Mission, Capacity, Environment and Cost (Page 2-25).


    • Mission related principally to whether the airspace around the facility would be able to accommodate the flying sorties of the F35A, and how the weather impacted visibility. {60{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}}
    • Capacity related to whether the existing facilities (hangers, maintenance units, simulator bays, munitions, runways, etc.) would be able to accommodate the F-35A. {25{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}}
    • Environment related to existing air quality, zoning and land use controls, and existing encroachment (meaning “incompatible development”). {5{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}}
    • Cost related to the base’s construction costs and is tied to the cost-of-living. {10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}}


B. PROCESS Problem


  1. Unlike the other criteria, which evaluated whether the airspace and facilities could accommodate the futureneeds of F-35A, the encroachment area (under environment) was related to the current situation—what exists now for theF-16.


  1. Rather than ask if there would be incompatible development in the F-35A accident and noise zones around the airport, they asked if there was currently incompatible development in the F-16 accident and noise zones around the airport.


    • Since there are different accident and noise zones for the F-16 and the F-35A, (the F-35A noise and crash zones are much larger than the F-16s) it is not logical to assume that the presence or absence of buildings, or the numbers of buildings, for the current F-16 would be the same for the F-35A.


C. DATA Problem


  1. Two questions in the ‘Encroachment’ area under the ‘Environmental’ category were answered incorrectly. Those questions were:


    • Is there incompatible development in clear zones and/or accident potential area?” and
    • Is there incompatible development in noise contours above 65 dB DNL?”


  1. The answer marked for both questions was ‘No’ meaning that there were NO incompatible buildings in either area (accident and noise). Burlington thus received 3 points for each question (6 total).


  1. But, there is incompatible development in both areas (accident and noise); meaning Burlington should not have received 6 points.


  1. Burlington Air Guard Station received a total score of 91.021 on the scoring sheet given to Senator Sanders in June 2012.


  1. For over a year, citizens, the media, and lawyers have been requesting to see the scores of the other Air Guard Stations, especially Jacksonville Air Guard Station in Florida and McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina, to confirm whether or not another Guard base scored higher than Burlington.


    • South Burlington City Council requested this from the Vermont Congressional Delegates in July 2012, and was told that the Air Force would not release it to them.
    • The Air Force denied two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to get the scoring sheets for other bases.


6. In June 2013, a slide from an Air Force briefing was leaked. This showed the scores of all six bases (three active duty Air Force bases, and three Air Guard bases) under consideration. According to a New York Times press report, this slide (and score) came after the scoring sheet that was provided to the VT congressional delegation in June 2012. And, both scoring sheets preceded the creation of the EIS. On this slide, Burlington received an overall score of 87.1, which was lower than either of the other two Air Guard bases, Jacksonville and McEntire. No explanation was given for why Burlington’s scores were lowered, or why an outdated scoring sheet was given to Senator Sanders.


Center For Media And Democracy: Video Interview of Dr. Jean Szilva on F-35’s Health Concerns to local populations around BIA

Friday, June 12th, 2013

Burlington, VT

Richard Kemp interviews Dr. Jean Silva on F-35 health concerns and health impacts to the local populations around the Burlington International Airport.

Please click here to watch this video interview.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: Air Guard Sticking to Its Guns on Basing F-35 in Vermont


Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Colchester VT

Seven Days journalist, Kevin Kelley, reports from Camp Johnson interviewing both General Dick Harris and Lieutenant Col. Finnegan who say, “The F-35 remains “the right fit” for the Vermont Air Guard, its top officer declared on Thursday — one day after the Winooski city council voted unanimously to oppose local basing of the plane.

During a 90-minute press briefing at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Gen. Dick Harris (pictured) and other Air Guard officers disputed that the F-35 would be significantly louder than the existing fleet of F-16s.

They also challenged the assertion by Vermont medical experts that many local residents exposed to noise levels now produced by the F-16 will suffer negative health effects.”

Click here for the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Seven Days: F-35 Foes Pile on the Data as Battle Builds over Local Basing Plan

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

South Burlington

Click here for the entire article.

Seven Days Journalist, Kevin Kelley, reports on last night’s “At a forum entitled “Last Call for Kids,” three Vermont medical experts warned that the F-35 will have potentially acute physical and mental consequences for those living in areas subject to the highest decibel outputs.”

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: F-35 critics who say noise harms kids will hold public meeting Tuesday 7pm Chamberlin School in SB

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

South Burlington VT

Burlington Free Press reporter, Sam Hemingway, reports, “Greco and other F-35 opponents are hosting a public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Chamberlin Elementary School in South Burlington to discuss the studies and hear from several area doctors on the impact of aircraft noise on young children.

Chamberlin School, on White Street, is less than a half-mile from Burlington International Airport, the closest of five schools in the designated noise zone for the F-35”

Click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Last Call For Kids

WHO studies on children

Download the pdf of the list of WHO studies on children, or just view it here.


Breaking Defense: Senator Dick Durbin wanted to hear “if any alternative (to the F-35) is being considered for a less costly fighter.”


Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Washington, DC

Journalist Otto Kreisher reports, “In his first major initiative as chairman of the crucial subcommittee Sen. Dick Durbin noted that the F-35 “has had more than its share of problems” and served as “a text book example” of the Pentagon’s procurement woes. Durbin challenged the witnesses to tell him what they have learned from this experience and what they were doing to ensure it would not be repeated. He also wanted to hear “if any alternative is being considered for a less costly fighter.”

He received a mixed answer to the first set of questions. But on the second, there was agreement even among the program critics that it would be impractical and wasteful to start over again after investing more than 12 years and $44 billion on the Lockheed-built jet.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

film excerpt: Ben Cohen interviewed about the F-35 and jobs. Ben says, “Every F-35 we build is taking jobs away”

Saturday June 15th, 2013

Burlington VT

Please watch this film excerpt from an upcoming documentary of Ben Cohen, entrepreneur, activist, and co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream explaining why the F-35 is bad for the country and bad for Vermont.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

USAction Seeks to Defund The F-35

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Washington DC

It’s time to pull the pork from the Pentagon and we should start by defunding the F-35 joint strike fighter program. With a price tag of $1.5 trillion, the F-35 is the most expensive fighter jet ever built and is the single most expensive item in the 2013 Pentagon budget. But 12 years after production began, the F-35 has yet to fly a single combat mission.

Costing more than the sequester, we simply cannot afford to keep paying for weapons systems we do not need, in order to pay for the things that we do like education, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

It’s time to defund the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter now.

Click here to cast your vote.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Time Magazine: F-35 Price Fixing – On Final Approach to Fighter Fiscal Sanity (Part 5 of 5)


Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Washington DC

Time Magazine is publishing a 5 part series on the F-35 this week. The journalist, Winslow Wheeler, is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages National Security (US Naval Institute Press) and Military Reform: An Uneven History and an Uncertain Future (Stanford University Press).

Here is part 5 in this 5 part series.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Time Magazine: F-35 Price Fixing – Different Planes, Common Problems (Part 4 of 5)


Thursday June 6th, 2013

Washington DC

Time Magazine is publishing a 5 part series on the F-35 this week. The journalist, Winslow Wheeler, is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages National Security (US Naval Institute Press) and Military Reform: An Uneven History and an Uncertain Future (Stanford University Press).

Here is part 4 in this 5 part series.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

America’s War Games: People & Power

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Washington DC

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a textbook case of a Pentagon procurement project that reveals why it is difficult to cut the defence budget. Three versions of the F-35 are being built for the Air Force, Navy and Marines by Lockheed Martin, the largest defence contractor in the US. The F-35 is the most expensive military weapons programme in US history, bigger than the Manhattan Project that produced nuclear weapons.

The F-35 was sold as a programme that would cost $226bn for about 2,900 aircrafts. It is now seven years behind schedule, and the price has increased almost 100 percent to $400bn for only 2,400 fighters. At least another $1 trillion will be required for operations and maintenance of the F-35 over its lifetime.

Pierre Sprey, an aircraft engineer and analyst who was one of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s ‘whizz kids’ in the 1960s, believes that the project should be cancelled or “there will be so little money left over for anything that’s needed, it’ll be unbelievable. They’ll be cutting people, pilots, training, everything just to pay for this thing.”

Click here to watch this 25 minute video.

Chuck Spinney, who worked as an analyst in the US secretary of defence’s office for 26 years, believes it is difficult for the United States to reap the benefits of a peace dividend because of the workings of the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his final 1961 address.

“It’s what in Washington we call an iron triangle,” Spinney says, ” you have an alliance between the private sector, the defence contractors, the executive branch, in this case the Pentagon, and the legislative branch.”

Everyone benefits from expensive procurement projects – the Pentagon gets weapons, defence companies get to make profits, and politicians get re-elected by funding armaments that generate jobs for constituents and campaign contributions from defence companies.

The result, according to Spinney, is a defence budget “that is packed to the gills with weapons we don’t need, with weapons that are underestimated in their future costs”.

The Pentagon and defence contractors low-ball costs and exaggerate performance in the early stages of a project to “turn on the money spigot”. Then the companies engage in “political engineering,” they spread the contracts and employment for a weapon around to as many Congressional districts as possible. They do that, Spinney says, so that once cost-overruns and performance problems become apparent, “you can’t do anything about it [because] there’s too much political support”.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Time Magazine: F-35 Price Fixing – The Deadly Empirical Data (Part 3 of 5)


Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Washington DC

Time Magazine is publishing a 5 part series on the F-35 this week. The journalist, Winslow Wheeler, is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages National Security (US Naval Institute Press) and Military Reform: An Uneven History and an Uncertain Future (Stanford University Press).

Here is Part 3 in the series.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Time Magazine: F-35 Price Fixing – Alphabet Soup: PAUCs, APUCs, URFs, Cost Variances and Other Pricing Dodges (part 2 of 5)


Tuesday June 4th, 2013

Washington DC

Time Magazine is publishing a 5 part series on the F-35 this week. The journalist, Winslow Wheeler, is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages National Security (US Naval Institute Press) and Military Reform: An Uneven History and an Uncertain Future (Stanford University Press).

Here is Part 2 in the series

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Time Magazine: F-35 Price Fixing – The New Era of Good F-35 Feelings (part 1 of 5)

AF-7 Flight 185

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Washington DC

Time Magazine is publishing a 5 part series on the F-35 this week. The journalist, Winslow Wheeler, is the Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information, a part of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) in Washington, DC. He has authored two books: The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages National Security (US Naval Institute Press) and Military Reform: An Uneven History and an Uncertain Future (Stanford University Press).

Here is Part 1 in his series

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Cut Social Security and Veterans’ Benefits? Cut the Pentagon Instead

By Robert Naiman


Consider the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Last year, Winslow Wheeler reported that theacquisition cost for the F-35 had risen to $379.4 billion for 2,457 aircraft. That’s just the cost to buy the planes, not to fly and maintain them. According to Wheeler, “The current appraisal for operations and support is $1.1 trillion – making for a grand total of $1.5 trillion, or more than the annual GDP of Spain.”

Assuming that everything is proportional (and that these costs don’t further escalate, which Wheeler assures us they will), if the F-35 costs $1.5 trillion for 2,457 planes, that’s $610 million per plane. How many F-35s would we have to not buy in order to spare seniors, veterans and the disabled from getting whacked? We would only have to not buy $163 billion worth, or 267 planes. That would still leave 2,190 planes. We could reduce the number of F-35s we purchase by just over 10 percent – cut one single weapons system by 10 percent – and save as much money as President Obama proposes to save by whacking seniors, veterans and the disabled.

Lastly, consider Pentagon contracting: the Project On Government Oversight notes that “every year for the last five years the Pentagon has spent more than $360 billion purchasing goods and services from contractors” and that “service contractors can cost, on average, 2.94 times more than an average Pentagon civilian employee performing the same job.”

Suppose it were true that it costs 2.9 times as much to do things through contractors as it does to use Pentagon employees. That’s a different statistic – I’m substituting an apple for an orange. We don’t actually have the numbers that we need to do the right calculation, because as POGO notes, the public doesn’t have access to contractor workforce size and cost data. But what we’re after here is just a rough sense of what Pentagon spending choices and cuts to Social Security and veterans’ benefits look like when you put them on the same scale. The actual policy choice we need to make to protect Social Security and veterans’ benefits and cut the Pentagon budget is merely to kill the grand bargain and let the sequester-level budget caps on discretionary spending stand.



Maps and Downloads

See the “unfit for residential use” map.


See the crash and safety zone map.


Download Fact Sheets on F-35 Basing (August 2013)

click here: Fact Sheets on F-35A Basing


What and Who to believe on the F-35 8-10-2013 (August 2013)

click here:  What and Who to believe on the F-35 8-10-2013pdf


Endangered Health: The Threat to Public Health from the Proposed F-35 Basing at Burlington International Airport

Current scientific consensus confirms that health effects of aviation noise, in both children and adults, are far more severe than the Air Force acknowledges
Click here to download full report:  Endangered Health- Threat From F-35 Basing



The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built


Marine Major Aric “Walleye” Liberman was uncharacteristically modest for a Navy SEAL turned fighter pilot. He had just landed an F-35–one of the 2,457 jets the Pentagon plans to buy for $400 billion, making it the costliest weapons program in human history–at its initial operational base late last year. Amid celebratory hoopla, he declined photographers’ requests to give a thumbs-up for the cameras that sunny day in Yuma, Ariz. “No, no, no,” he demurred with a smile.

Liberman’s reticence was understandable. For while the Marines hailed his arrival as a sign that their initial F-35 squadron is now operational, there’s one sticking point. “It’s an operational squadron,” a Marine spokesman said. “The aircraft is not operational.”

The F-35, designed as the U.S. military’s lethal hunter for 21st century skies, has become the hunted, a poster child for Pentagon profligacy in a new era of tightening budgets. Instead of the stars and stripes of the U.S. Air Force emblazoned on its fuselage, it might as well have a bull’s-eye. Its pilots’ helmets are plagued with problems, it hasn’t yet dropped or fired weapons, and the software it requires to go to war remains on the drawing board.

That’s why when Liberman landed his F-35 before an appreciative crowd, including home-state Senator John McCain, he didn’t demonstrate its most amazing capability: landing like a helicopter using its precision-cast titanium thrust-vectoring nozzle. That trick remains reserved for test pilots, not operational plane drivers like him.

The price tag, meanwhile, has nearly doubled since 2001, to $396 billion. Production delays have forced the Air Force and Navy to spend at least $5 billion to extend the lives of existing planes. The Marine Corps–the cheapest service, save for its love of costly jump jets (which take off and land almost vertically) for its pet aircraft carriers–have spent $180 million on 74 used British AV-8 jets for spare parts to keep their Reagan-era Harriers flying until their version of the F-35 truly comes online. Allied governments are increasingly weighing alternatives to the F-35.

But the accounting is about to get even worse as concern over spending on the F-35 threatens other defense programs. On March 1, if lawmakers cannot reach a new budget deal, the Pentagon faces more than $500 billion in spending cuts in the form of sequestration, which translates into a 10{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} cut in projected budgets over the coming decade. Two years ago, the White House predicted that those cuts would be so onerous to defense-hawk Republicans that they would never happen. But the GOP is now split, with a growing number of members who are more concerned about the deficit than defense.

“We are spending maybe 45{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the world’s budget on defense. If we drop to 42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} or 43{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}, would we be suddenly in danger of some kind of invasion?” asked Representative Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican and part of a new breed of deficit hawks who talk of spending as a bigger threat than war. “We’re bankrupting our country, and it’s going to put us in danger.”

House Republican leaders have started to speak of the military cuts as inevitable. President Obama has warned that without a new plan from Congress, there will be “tough decisions in the weeks ahead,” like the recent announcement that an aircraft-carrier deployment to the Persian Gulf will be delayed to save money.

The sad irony is that cutting the F-35 at this point won’t save much money in the near term, because the Pentagon recently pushed nearly $5 billion in F-35 contracts out the door. Yet sequester-mandated cuts will push both the purchase of additional planes and their required testing into the future with an inevitable result: the cost of each plane will rise even higher. Unfortunately, that won’t be anything new for the F-35 Lightning II.

How Did We Get Here?

The single-engine, single-seat f-35 is a real-life example of the adage that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Think of it as a flying Swiss Army knife, able to engage in dogfights, drop bombs and spy. Tweaking the plane’s hardware makes the F-35A stealthy enough for the Air Force, the F-35B’s vertical-landing capability lets it operate from the Marines’ amphibious ships, and the Navy F-35C’s design is beefy enough to endure punishing carrier operations.

“We’ve put all our eggs in the F-35 basket,” said Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn. Given that, one might think the military would have approached the aircraft’s development conservatively. In fact, the Pentagon did just the opposite. It opted to build three versions of a single plane averaging $160 million each (challenge No. 1), agreed that the planes should be able to perform multiple missions (challenge No. 2), then started rolling them off the assembly line while the blueprints were still in flux–more than a decade before critical developmental testing was finished (challenge No. 3). The military has already spent $373 million to fix planes already bought; the ultimate repair bill for imperfect planes has been estimated at close to $8 billion.

Back in 2002, Edward Aldridge, then the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, said the F-35 was “setting new standards for technological advances” and “rewriting the books on acquisition and business practices.” His successor voiced a different opinion last year. “This will make a headline if I say it, but I’m going to say it anyway,” Frank Kendall said. “Putting the F-35 into production years before the first test flight was acquisition malpractice. It should not have been done.”

The Pentagon and its allies say the need for the F-35 was so dire that the plane had to be built as it was being designed. (More than a decade into its development, blueprints are changing about 10 times a day, seven days a week.) “The technological edge of the American tactical air fleet is only about five years, and both Russia and China are fielding fifth-generation fighters of their own,” argues Tom Donnelly, a defense expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “Preserving the cumulative quantity-quality advantage requires that the United States field a full fleet of fifth-generation fighters now.”

Others suggest that no nation is close to fielding weapons in sufficient quality and quantity to challenge U.S. air dominance anytime soon and that the rush to develop the F-35 was more internal than external. “There’s always this sexual drive for a new airplane on the part of each service,” says Tom Christie, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester from 2001 to 2005. “Persistent, urgent and natural.”

The resulting bastard child was a compromise, not optimum for any one service but good enough for all three. Neither the Air Force nor the Navy liked its stubby design. The F-35C’s squat fuselage puts its tailhook close to its landing gear (7 ft., compared with 18 on the F-18 it is replacing), making it tough to grab the arresting cable on an aircraft carrier. Its short range means aircraft carriers ferrying it into battle will have to sail close to enemy shores if the F-35C is to play a role. It can fly without lumbering aerial tankers only by adding external fuel tanks, which erases the stealthiness that is its prime war-fighting asset.

Cramming the three services into the program reduced management flexibility and put the taxpayer in a fiscal headlock. Each service had the leverage generated by threatening to back out of the program, which forced cost into the backseat, behind performance. “The Air Force potentially could have adopted the Navy variant, getting significantly more range and structural durability,” says John Young Jr., a top Navy and Pentagon civilian official from 2001 to 2009. “But the Air Force leadership refused to consider such options.”

Yet if the Navy, and Young, were upset with the Air Force, the Air Force was upset with the Marines. “This is a jobs program for Marine aviation,” says retired general Merrill McPeak, Air Force chief of staff from 1990 to 1994. “The idea that we could produce a committee design that is good for everybody is fundamentally wrong.” He scoffs at the Marine demand for a plane that can land vertically, saying, “The idea of landing on a beach and supporting your troops close up from some improvised airfield, à la Guadalcanal, is not going to happen.”

Focused on waging two post-9/11 wars, the Pentagon let the F-35 program drift as costs ballooned and schedules slipped for a decade. The Marines’ F-35 was supposed to be capable of waging war in April 2010, the Air Force’s in June 2011 and the Navy’s in April 2012. In a break with Pentagon custom, there now is no such “initial operating capability” date for any of them; each is likely to be delayed several years.

Regardless of the plane’s merit, the lawmakers pushing for it are hardly disinterested observers. The then 48 members of the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus, many of whom sit on key Pentagon-overseeing panels, pocketed twice as much as nonmembers in campaign contributions from the F-35’s top contractors in the 2012 election cycle. Those lawmakers’ constituents, in turn, hold many of the F-35 program’s 133,000 jobs spread across 45 states. (F-35 builder Lockheed Martin says jobs will double once the plane enters full production.)

Complicating matters further, the Pentagon and Lockheed have been at war with each other for years. Air Force Lieut. General Christopher Bogdan, a senior Pentagon F-35 manager, declared last summer that the relationship was “the worst I’ve ever seen–and I’ve been in some bad ones.” But the two sides insist the worst is now behind them. Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said last month that the aircraft has topped 5,000 flight hours, stepped up its flight-test schedule and is steadily pushing into new corners of its flight envelope. “Our maturing production line, operational-base stand-up and expanded pilot training are all strong indicators of the F-35 program’s positive trajectory,” she said. Deliveries of fresh F-35s more than doubled in 2012, to 30 planes.

Pilots love the F-35. There are few gauges, buttons or knobs in the cockpit. “What you have in front of you is a big touchscreen display–it’s an interface for the iPad generation,” says Marine Colonel Arthur Tomassetti, an F-35 test pilot. “You have an airplane that with very small movements of your left and right hand does what you want it to do. And if you don’t want it to do anything, it stays where you left it.” That makes it easy to fly. “I’m watching the emerald-colored sea up against the white sand,” Tomassetti says of his flights from Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. “I remember lots of flights in other airplanes where I never had time to do anything like that.”

But military technology has been moving away from manned fighters for years. Drones, standoff weapons and GPS-guided bombs have cut the utility of, and need for, such short-leg piloted planes. Their limits become even more pronounced amid the Pentagon’s pivot to the Pacific, where the tyranny of distance makes the F-35’s short combat radius (469 miles for the Marines, 584 for the Air Force, 615 for the Navy) a bigger challenge.

Computers are key to flying the plane. But instead of taking advantage of simplicity, the F-35 is heading in the other direction: its complexity can be gleaned from its 24 million lines of computer code, including 9.5 million on board the plane. That’s more than six times as much as the Navy F-18 has. The F-35 computer code, government auditors say, is “as complicated as anything on earth.”

Computers also were supposed to replace most prototyping and allow all three kinds of F-35s to roll off the Texas assembly line at the same time, just as Avalons, Camrys and Venzas are rolling out of Toyota’s huge Kentucky plant. “Advances in the technology, in our design tools and in our manufacturing processes have significantly changed the manner in which aircraft are designed and built today,” Paul Kaminski, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, said in 1997.

But Lockheed is no Toyota. Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, the bible of the aerospace industry and a traditional supporter, published an editorial last fall that declared the program “already a failure” on cost and schedule and said “the jury is still out” on its capabilities. It suggested pitting the F-35 against existing fighters–Air Force F-15s and F-16s and Navy F-18s–for future U.S. fighter purchases.

J. Michael Gilmore, Christie’s successor as the Pentagon’s top weapons tester, reported in January that all three versions will be slower and less maneuverable than projected. Weight-saving efforts have made the plane 25{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} more vulnerable to fire. Only one of three F-35s flown by the U.S. military, he added, was ready to fly between March and October.

Such problems inevitably lead to delays, which relentlessly drive up the price. “Lockheed Martin and the F-35 program have not shown any kind of sensitivity to costs,” says Richard Aboulafia, who tracks military aviation for the Teal Group, which analyzes the defense business. “That makes for a vulnerable program.”

And dark clouds are gathering. Pentagon and Lockheed officials know they need to sell hundreds of F-35s to a dozen nations to reduce the cost of each U.S. plane. But Canada announced in December that it is considering alternatives to its planned buy of 65 F-35s after an independent analysis pegged their lifetime cost at nearly $46 billion, roughly double an earlier estimate (the estimated U.S. lifetime cost: $1.5 trillion). Australia recently suggested it wants 24 more St. Louis–built Boeing F-18s, almost guaranteeing a reduction in its planned purchase of up to 100 F-35s.

The Right Kind of Plane?

While debate swirls around how to build the F-35 right, there’s a more important question: Is it the right kind of plane for the U.S. military in the 21st century? The F-35 is a so-called fifth-generation fighter, which means it is built from the ground up to elude enemy radar that could be used to track and destroy it. Stealth was all the rage in military circles when the Pentagon conceived the F-35. But that was well before the drone explosion, which makes the idea of flying a human through flak and missiles seem quaint. “The Air Force,” Aboulafia says, “eagerly drank gallons of the fifth-generation purple liquid.”

Improved sensors and computing are eroding stealth’s value every day, says Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations. Eventually, he warns, they will give potential foes “actionable target information” on stealth platforms.

The Air Force feared “additional fourth-generation fighter acquisition as a direct threat to fifth-generation fighter programs,” Air Force Lieut. Colonel Christopher Niemi, a veteran F-22 pilot, wrote in the November-December 2012 issue of the service’s Air & Space Power Journal. Its refusal to reconsider buying new fourth-generation F-15s and F-16s in lieu of some F-35s “threatens to reduce the size of the Air Force’s fielded fighter fleet to dangerously small numbers, particularly in the current fiscal environment.”

A stealthy jet requires sacrifices in range, flying time and weapon-carrying capability–the hat trick of aerial warfare. All those factors have played a role in the fate of the Air Force’s F-22 fighter, the nation’s only other fifth-generation warplane. It has been sitting on runways around the globe for seven years, pawing at the tarmac as the nation waged wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Yet the F-22, built to fight wars against enemies that have yet to materialize, has yet to fly a single combat mission.

If sequestration happens March 1, F-35 officials have made it clear they will be forced to slow production and delay flight tests. Both steps will make each plane that is ultimately bought more expensive.

But thanks to $4.8 billion in Pentagon contracts for 31 planes pushed out the door barely 100 hours before the original Jan. 2 sequestration deadline, much of the program will continue on autopilot.

“The F-35 program has built up a good buffer by getting the most recent lot of aircraft awarded in time,” says Todd Harrison, a defense-budget expert at the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “That means Lockheed and all the subcontractors have a backlog of work that won’t be affected by sequestration, so they can continue working as planned for the time being.”

Apparently the F-35 may end up being pretty stealthy after all.


Federal Budget 101

Where Does the Money Go?

In fiscal year 2014, the federal government will spend around $3.8 trillion. These trillions of dollars make up a considerable chunk – around 22 percent – of the US. economy, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That means that federal government spending makes up a sizable share of all money spent in the United States each year. So, where does all that money go?

Mandatory and Discretionary Spending

The U.S. Treasury divides all spending into three groups: mandatory spending and discretionary spending and interest on debt. Interest on debt, which is much smaller than the other two categories, is the interest the government pays on its accumulated debt, minus interest income received by the government for assets it owns.

Discretionary spending refers to the portion of the budget which goes through the annualappropriations process each year. In other words, Congress directly sets the level of spending on programs which are discretionary. Congress can choose to increase or decrease spending on any of those programs in a given year.

Mandatory spending is largely made up of earned-benefit or entitlement programs, and the spending for those programs is determined by eligibility rules rather than the appropriations process. For example, Congress decides to create a program like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. It then sets criteria for determining who is eligible to receive benefits from the program. The amount of money spent on SNAP each year is then determined by how many people are eligible and apply for benefits.

Congress therefore cannot decide each year to increase or decrease the budget for SNAP. Instead, it can review the eligibility rules and may change them in order to exclude or include more people.

Mandatory spending makes up around two-thirds of the total federal budget. The largest mandatory program is Social Security, which comprises more than a third of mandatory spending and around 22 percent of the total federal budget.

Finally, putting together discretionary spending, mandatory spending, and interest on the debt, you can see how the total federal budget is divided into different categories of spending. This pie chart shows how President Obama proposes dividing up the whole federal budget in fiscal 2014. Income security programs like Social Security and unemployment insurance together comprise the largest slice, followed by Medicare & Health, and Military.

SOURCE: http://nationalpriorities.org/budget-basics/federal-budget-101/spending/

VT Board of Health Report

Click to download pdf.


Burlington Board of Health F-35 Resolution

Click to download the pdf.


World Health Organization: Burden of disease from environmental noise

We’re hoping the folks at the Burlington Board of Health read this study that just came to our attention, put out by WHO in 2011. Can’t get more authoritative and up to date than that. Please see the study attached below. Note this is a large file and may take a while to download.

Noise is a serious issue and this authoritative study documents its serious effects on different segments of society. See page 45 for the effects on children. We’re tired of the “six minutes a day…” mantra from fans of the F35. We’re tired of hearing about the F4s years ago. Smoking and DDT used to be generally acceptable too. We’ve learned a few things recently. Get informed. Read this study. We’re not making it up.

Health Impacts of Noise on Children

Hopefully we can all agree that we’re concerned about our kids’ health, whether they are rich or poor, hippie or patriot, black or white. Our research committee has done some digging into the details of noise and its effect on children.

For those who “love jet noise” or “love the sound of freedom”, you are welcome to your opinions. The noise generated by the F-35s will effect us all in the 65DNL and the surrounding communities. These are PUBLIC HEALTH issues. For those who say “Aw shucks, it’s just some loud noise for 6 minutes a day,” we invite you to do the research. Very few of us are experts on these matters, but expert research has been done. Please see the pdf attached for some of the facts. We cite the original sources and welcome you to dig further into this topic.

As boards of health in Burlington and beyond study this topic, there is no room for the “Aw shucks” argument.

U.S. sees lifetime cost of F-35 fighter at $1.45 trillion

Thu, Mar 29 2012
By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government now projects that the total cost to develop, buy and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be $1.45 trillion over the next 50-plus years, according to a Pentagon document obtained by Reuters.

The Pentagon’s latest, staggering estimate of the lifetime cost of the F-35 — its most expensive weapons program — is up from about $1 trillion a year ago, and includes inflation.

While inflation accounts for more than one-third of the projected F-35 operating costs, military officials and industry executives were quick to point out that it is nearly impossible to predict inflation over the next half-century.

They also argue that no other weapons program’s costs have been calculated over such a long period, and that even shorter-term cost projections for other aircraft do not include the cost of modernization programs and upgrades.

The new cost estimate reflects the Pentagon’s proposal to postpone orders for 179 planes for five years, a move that U.S. official say will save $15.1 billion through 2017, and should avert costly retrofits if further problems arise during testing of the new fighter, which is only about 20 percent complete.

The Pentagon still plans to buy 2,443 of the new radar-evading, supersonic warplanes, plus 14 development aircraft, in the coming decades, although Air Force Secretary Michael Donley last week warned that further technical problems or cost increases could eat away at those numbers.

The new estimate, based on calculations made by the Cost Assessment Program Evaluation (CAPE) office, includes operating and maintenance costs of $1.11 trillion, including inflation, and development and procurement costs of $332 billion.

The Government Accountability Office last week projected it would cost $397 billion to develop and buy the planes, up from its earlier forecast of $382 billion.

The Pentagon office that runs the F-35 program office has a lower estimate for lifetime costs, although it is still around $1 trillion, according to two sources familiar with the estimates. Both industry and government have put a huge emphasis on reducing operating costs and keeping the plane affordable.

The new estimates are part of a revised F-35 baseline dated March 26 that will be sent to Congress on Thursday.


The new baseline forecasts the average cost of the F-35 fighter, including research and development (R&D) and inflation, at $135 million per plane, plus an additional $26 million for the F135 engine built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp.

In 2012 dollars, the average cost of each single-seat, single-engine plane, including R&D, would be $112.5 million, plus $22 million for the engine.

This is the first year that the government has separated out the cost of the plane and the engine, and comparison figures were not immediately available. Lockheed Martin has said the average cost of the plane will be around $65 million to $70 million, based on 2010 dollars.

Lockheed Martin declined comment on the new estimate, saying it had not yet received the Pentagon’s latest report.

Lockheed spokesman Joe LaMarca said the company still believed the new fighter jet would cost the same or less to operate and maintain than the seven legacy warplanes it will replace, while offering far greater capabilities.


Defense analyst Loren Thompson said three quarters of the cost increases on the F-35 program were linked to government changes in the scope of the program, and the way it was estimating costs.

For instance, he said, the Pentagon initially planned to station the plane at 33 bases, but later changed the number to 49. It initially calculated operating costs over 30 years, but then chose a longer timeframe of 50 years, he said.

“The program costs appear to be rising much faster than they actually are because the government keeps changing how it calculates things,” Thompson said.

The Pentagon’s proposal to postpone buying 179 planes for five years added $60 billion to the operations and support cost of the program, since those planes will now be delivered in later years when inflation is higher. The push also added two years to the duration of the program, according to an internal Lockheed calculation obtained by Reuters.

But Winslow Wheeler, a critic of the program, predicts cost growth on the program will be even greater than estimated by the Pentagon, given the complexity of the F-35 fighter.

Lockheed is developing three variants of the new plane for the U.S. military and eight partner countries: Britain, Australia, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, Australia and the Netherlands. They now plan to buy a combined total of 697 planes, down from 730 in the previous Pentagon estimate.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Anthony Boadle)

Noise Pollution Takes Toll on Health and Happiness

(This informative article describes research documenting the harmful effects of airport noise on children, students, and others–editor)

Everyday Noise Can Overstimulate the Body’s Stress Response

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post
Tuesday, June 5, 2007

In the beginning there was silence, and it was good.

From silence came sound, not all of which was good. And the sound that was not welcome was called noise. And there got to be more and more of it, because who wants to rake when you can blow?

Let me be honest. I don’t get along with noise. I see it, or rather hear it, as the essayist Ambrose Bierce did around the turn of the last century: as “a stench in the ear.”

And by “noise” I don’t mean only the noises that everyone agrees are bad for your hearing — those ear-splitting sirens and the stand-right-next-to-the-speaker heavy metal concerts. Even everyday noise eats away at my nerves.

You may say I’m thin-skinned, but I have science on my side. A growing body of evidence confirms that the chronic din of construction crews, road projects, jet traffic and, yes, those ubiquitous leaf blowers, is taking a toll on our health and happiness.

Providing scientific proof of this has not been easy — in part because noise, defined as “unwanted sound,” is to a large degree a matter of personal taste and sensitivity. The romantic hears a train whistle differently from the insomniac. And no small number of Americans pay good money to hear the same rock-and-roll music that was used to torture the holed-up Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega, and Waco’s David Koresh and induce cooperation from prisoners in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But study after study has found that community noise is interrupting our sleep, interfering with our children’s learning, suppressing our immune systems and even increasing — albeit just a little — our chances of having a heart attack. It is also tarnishing the Golden Rule, reducing people’s inclination to help one another.

“Everyday noise is under the radar, yet it affects everyone’s life,” said Louis Hagler, a retired physician in Oakland, Calif., and an advocate for quiet, who recently published in the Southern Medical Journal a review of studies linking noise exposures to health problems. “We don’t say to people, ‘You just have to learn to live with sewage in your water,’ ” Hagler said in an interview. “Why should we tolerate sewage coming into our ears?”

As I write — from home today, the better to concentrate, I told my editor — there is a person up the street blowing leaves and dust from one part of his property to another. To accomplish this task, he is generating a sound that is only a little less intense than the 85 decibels that the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health says is physically damaging over a period of hours, and more than loud enough to make it almost impossible for me to think.

Leaf blowers may be my pet peeve, but it is modern transportation — cars, motorcycles, trucks and air traffic — that accounts for most of the background noise that disturbs and even sickens people.

More than 40 percent of Americans whose homes have any traffic noise at all classify that noise as “bothersome,” according to the 2005 American Housing Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. One-third of those say the noise is so bothersome they want to move. All told, more than 100 million Americans are regularly exposed to noise levels in excess of the 55 decibels that federal agencies have recommended as a reasonable background intensity.

Here in the Washington area, a battle over airport noise is posed to erupt this summer as the Senate considers adding as many as 20 new daily takeoffs and landings at Reagan National, a move opposed by neighbors already fed up with the steady roar of low-flying jets.

A now-classic study conducted in the 1970s was among the first to indicate that such noise is more than an annoyance. It found that children living on the lower, noisier floors of an apartment building overlooking a busy Manhattan bridge had lower reading scores than those living on higher floors.

But was noise really the major factor explaining that difference? After all, people tend to move away from extremely noisy neighborhoods if they can, and those who don’t are more likely to be poor, which by itself is a risk factor for delayed educational advancement and ill health.

To answer such questions, scientists have taken advantage of unusual situations in which people’s exposure to noise changed over time while other factors remained relatively constant. In a study of students attending an elementary school near noisy train tracks in New York, for example, researchers showed that by the time the students reached sixth grade, those whose classrooms faced the train were a year behind those whose classrooms were on the quiet side of the building. After noise reduction materials were installed in the classrooms and around the tracks, reading scores in the two groups equalized, strengthening the case that noise was the culprit.

Another clue came from a study of children whose schools were located near West London’s busy Heathrow airport.

“We found a straightforward linear effect from aircraft noise and impairment in reading on standardized tests,” said study leader Stephen A. Stansfeld, a professor of psychiatry at Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, noting that the close correlation strengthened the case that noise was to blame.

But it was a “natural” experiment in Germany that helped clinch the case, when the old Munich airport was shut down and a new one was opened at a distant site. Tests done on third- and fourth-graders — before that switch, soon after it and again later on — showed that students near the old airport initially scored lower than others on tests of memory and reading but improved after the airport closed, while their counterparts living near the new airport saw a decline in scores after the switch occurred.
A Chronic Emergency

Noise that invades a classroom may make it hard for students to hear the teacher, of course. But blood tests done on the Munich children helped reveal a more insidious biological mechanism through which noise wreaks much of its havoc. Children near the working airports had significantly higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol — the body’s so-called stress hormones.

Those hormones are part of the body’s “fight or flight” response, which helps a person deal with sudden emergencies. Blood pressure and heart rate go up in preparation for action. The blood becomes thick with oxygen-toting red blood cells. And the immune system gets suppressed as part of the shift toward fulfilling short-term needs rather than longer-term health.

That response can be lifesaving in an attack, but it is counterproductive when activated chronically. Over months and years it can literally corrode the body, eating away at blood vessels and other organs and predisposing a person to other medical woes.

“This is the most disturbing thing about noise, because it means you are being exposed to this reaction all the time,” said Roberto Bertollini of the World Health Organization’s Special Programme on Health and Environment.

As a result of that hormonal activation, children near the working Munich airports had significantly higher blood pressure than children in quieter neighborhoods — adding to their risk of having a heart attack or stroke later in life. Similar impacts have been documented among adults near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and Stockholm’s Arlanda airport, where chronic noise as low as 55 decibels correlated with more doctor visits, high blood pressure and treatments for heart troubles.

Whether traffic noise actually increases one’s chances of having heart disease or a heart attack has been harder to determine, because such studies require large numbers of people. But the evidence for at least a modest effect is growing.

A highly respected Dutch analysis combined the results from 43 studies that tracked chest pains, heart attacks and related problems with community noise levels. Using a statistical technique called meta-analysis, it concluded that there is “a slight increase in cardiovascular disease risk in populations exposed to air traffic and/or road traffic noise.”
Face the Music

Even if chronic exposure to noise is unlikely to kill you, it can simmer under the surface and take a toll on your well-being.

Studies have shown that chronic night noise not only leaves you shrouded in a fog of fatigue, irritability and poor concentration, but also activates the stress response as you sleep. And while the number of awakenings per night may decrease as you adjust to the din, the increased heart rate, blood pressure and breathing changes persist.

“The idea that people get used to noise is a myth,” the Environmental Protection Agency has reported. “Even when we think we have become accustomed to noise, biological changes still take place inside us.”

The Health Council of the Netherlands found that high levels of mechanical noise, such as that from a hospital’s own air-conditioning equipment, can delay recovery in patients — a reflection, perhaps, of the immune suppression that comes with an activated stress response.

Another insidious effect of noise is its cultivation of what scientists call “learned helplessness.” Children given puzzles in moderately noisy classrooms are not only more likely to fail to solve them but are also more likely to surrender early.

“They just give up,” said Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University who studies noise and behavior. The implications of learned helplessness on a child’s success in life “are potentially pretty powerful,” he said.

Perhaps most disturbing in these times of political and economic polarization is that noise undermines generosity.

In one study, people were less likely to help someone pick up a bundle of dropped books when the noise of a lawn mower was present. Another showed that in a noisy environment, people playing a game were more likely to see their fellow players as disagreeable or threatening. Yet another found a drop in helpful behavior when loud “annoying music” was played.

Interestingly, helping behavior increased when similarly loud “uplifting music” was played. Which gets to the weird thing about noise: its mysterious psychological component.
Something to Yell About

Researchers still know very little about how attitudes toward noise affect its impact on health. It may be that people with upbeat attitudes — people, for example, who do not believe that this blowhard up the street ought to be jailed — will live longer, healthier lives than I will. After all, anger alone is a potent producer of stress hormones. Am I killing myself by caring?

Some research suggests so. People report being far less annoyed by noises they willingly accept or actively select (riding a motorcycle, for example) than by those they have no control over (the car alarm outside your window).

On the other hand, the hormonal systems of even the mellowest of people in noisy places may still be quietly seething.

After runway patterns were changed at an airport in Australia, researchers studied two neighborhoods — one that was now noisier because of the change and one that got quieter — both of which now had the same noise levels. People whose neighborhoods had become quieter were less anxious, angry and depressed than those whose neighborhoods had grown noisier. But the two groups’ stress hormone levels were indistinguishable, suggesting that a good attitude may not be powerful enough to save you — and a bad one won’t necessarily kill you.

As an inveterate ranter against noise, I find that last point gratifying. It means I can complain as noisily as I want without losing the benefits of whatever quiet I win. ·

© 2007 The Washington Post Company

NY Times Reports Lockheed Profits Down

By CHRISTOPHER DREW See original at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/business/20arms.html?ref=christopher_drew .

Lockheed Martin on Tuesday cut its earnings forecast for 2010, and said delays in the award of Pentagon programs would hurt its sales growth and leave profits flat in 2011.

The company, the world’s largest military contractor, said the percentage growth rate in its sales would slow to the “low single-digit range” next year as a long surge in Pentagon spending comes to an end.

Lockheed also announced that its third-quarter profit from continuing operations had dropped 28 percent to $565 million, or $1.55 a share, from $786 million, or $2.04 a share, a year earlier. Sales rose 6 percent to $11.4 billion, from $10.77 billion during the same period a year ago. Analysts, on average, had estimated that the company would earn $1.53 a share on revenue of $11.59 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

The drop in quarterly profit was partly a result of a $178 million charge for a buyout program for 600 executives. The company said the reduction in its forecast for 2010 earnings also reflected plans to divest units and add more money to its pension funds.

Lockheed, based in Bethesda, Md., said it now expected its full 2010 earnings per share from continuing operations to be $6.75 to $6.95, down from the previous range of $7.15 to $7.35.

As the Pentagon moves to save $100 billion through tighter contracting and other measures, Lockheed said it faced further pressures, with some plans for new programs were being canceled or delayed.

Bruce L. Tanner, Lockheed’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said possible contracts for a Navy ship that could operate in coastal waters and for missile defense systems had been delayed by several months, reducing the amount of new business it expected in early 2011.

He said that the company’s expansion into solar energy had also developed more slowly than expected.

Mr. Tanner said in an interview that the company had hoped this energy business would bring in hundreds of millions in sales by 2011. But with utilities and local governments also canceling and delaying projects, “we’re not expecting it to be anywhere near that level,” he said.

Mr. Tanner said Lockheed’s aeronautics business should show strong growth next year. It will benefit from production increases for the new F-35 fighter, a radar-evading plane that is expected to become the main fighter for the United States and a number of its allies.

But Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, said Tuesday that his government would order fewer of the F-35s than the 140 that his country had previously sought. He also said Britain would buy a version of the F-35 that could be catapulted from an aircraft carrier rather than a more expensive variant that can take off almost vertically.

Lockheed’s chief executive, Robert J. Stevens, told analysts that while the company would lose some sales to Britain, it expected to offset the losses through sales to countries in the Middle East and Asia.

Canada and Israel both recently announced plans to buy the F-35. Company officials still expect to eventually sell more than 3,000 of the planes.
The company’s stock was down 55 cents to $69.49 a share in the afternoon.

Up Up and Away

Depending on how you look at it this chart either is good in that it says we are keeping our troops safe (which is debatable!) or bad in that we are allocating too much money to too much hegemony, while lining the pockets of folks like Lockheed Martin the maker of the F-35 and others on the Spade Defense Index I discussed earlier. I say this money would be better spent domestically. We are currently spending $698.14 per active-duty US military enlistee. Could this not be better used to combat the mushrooming of charter schools in place of public schools, agribusiness at the expense of Vermont (and the nation’s) local small farmer, alternative energy advances vs. traditional mountain-top-removal and dams galore.

Click the chart for larger view.

I think this chart says alot and speaks to another reason why the F-35 is a bad idea…..The MIC and it’s angel investors/shareholders will be the only ones who benefit from our men and women sacrificing their lives for the advancement of across the board free-markets. We are spending more and more, but we are creating blowback due to inaccurate drone strikes and the fact that we insist on bringing F-35s to a gun fight. This graph demonstrates the exponential rise in spending per troop and it presages the collapse of the MIC, because exponential rises are not sustainable, rather their meteoric rise further decouples the blue from the white collar and the troop from the war profiteer. Vermont and Chittenden County should not participate in such a decoupling.

Author: Ted Auch

The True Reason For Pentagon Austerity

The pentagon and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have stated for the last couple of years their sincere desire to cut military costs and drive down their annual $738 billion budget. Of this $134-137 billion goes to procurement, while $77-81 billion goes to R & D according to President Obama’s latest budget proposal for FY 2011 (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/01/us/budget.html). However, a recent article in The Times by Christopher Drew (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/business/15pentagon.html?ref=business) reveals the true intentions of Mr. Gates et al. They really have no intention of putting downward pressure on their budget, rather they would like to cut $100 billion from procurement of bloated contracts like the F-35 and new presidential helicopters AND shift it to other more pressing projects. In the words of Mr. Drew

“Mr. Gates’s goal is to save $100 billion over the next several years and use that money to continue the Pentagon’s modernization programs, including the design of a new nuclear missile submarine and long-range aerial strike systems. He said the Pentagon had already started adjusting speed and size requirements to save billions on the projected cost of the submarine.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/business/15pentagon.html?ref=business)

So it looks as though all those savings a/o pork we could relocate to education or healthcare are figments of our imagination. This is the definition of a high-stakes shell game using fuzzy logic and George Orwell’s double speak. What a shame as it looked like altruism might actually seep into the Military Industrial Complex for a minute or two.

Author Ted Auch.

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