The USS Gerald Ford – A $13 Billion Boondoggle?

The new Ford class of super-carriers is years overdue, billions over budget, and not combat worthy. Meanwhile to justify the expense, Washington is ginning up tension in the Persian Gulf and South China Sea. How long can this continue?

Ron Paul: Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in to the Liberty Report. With me today is Daniel McAdams, our co-host. Daniel, good to see you.

Daniel McAdams: Good morning Dr. Paul.

Ron Paul: Good. We are going to talk about another boondoggle. Can you believe our government has given us another boondoggle? Of course when we wrote up the title there we put a question mark there, but that is a little bit misleading, because I doubt there is anybody in our audience that would say no, I think it’s going to be a boondoggle. We’ve talked about boondoggles and we’ve talked about the waste in the Pentagon, but this one if it stays alive for long enough time, maybe we’ll spend more money on the F-35, but they are spending more money on this aircraft carrier with one unit. Of course they have this one unit they have been working on and it’s a $13 billion. I want to know and I want you to give me a clear-cut answer, do you feel a lot safer now that we have this aircraft carrier, just about to be launched to keep us safe and secure from all enemies?

Daniel McAdams: The USS Gerald Ford is the first in a new Ford class carries raking over the Nimitz class, which I think was commissioned in the mid-seventies and it’s supposed to have a lot of technical improvements, a lot of special gadgets, but there is some bad news in addition to the good news. Two years late for delivery, $2.9 billion over budget, according to Michael Gilmore, who is the DoD’s Director of Operational Testing, it’s not fit for combat. So, it’s a nice, shiny, gold-plated, big, floaty boat that is not very helpful.

Ron Paul: They don’t do a very good job of hiding their war propaganda at precise times during the fiscal year. We are in a great danger, the Chinese are going to get us and destroy our vessels and our Navy in the South China Sea and of course we have to worry about the Russians, now we have to worry about the Russians and the Chinese getting together, so it’s always to stimulate and get people to go along with the spending more money.

But, the whole thing is, this provides nothing for us, it’s just part of the military industrial complex, because even if it worked like they claimed that it was going to work, it would be a useless weapon, because I’ve been told many years ago, 20-30 years ago, that aircraft carriers are ancient, they can be destroyed rather easily by opponents that are relatively primitive in their ability to take on a giant military like ours, so it doesn’t even provide that. It makes me wonder why they go through this process. I wonder if they admit to themselves in their own minds, we got to do this to get this trillion dollar budget passed this year or whether they rationalize and say we really need this, we need to do a better job?

Daniel McAdams: Technologies come and they are attractive. Our old friend Chuck Spinney, who spent a lot of time in the Pentagon, we’ve talked about him the other day, he’s written a lot about how acquisition works in the military and the attraction of extremely expensive high-tech weaponry. One of the reasons it is very attractive is because you can spread the jobs and spread it among many states and of course when you have a factory in your Congressional district you are not as likely to vote against this particular weapon system. So, they build all of this into it and it’s very attractive and then when it doesn’t work, can you imagine if we overbalance our checkbook by a couple billion dollars.

Ron Paul: Yeah. The way I look at it, I look back at the people I’ve worked with in the Congress and I’ve always tried to give a benefit of the doubt, which sometimes they didn’t deserve, but I think some of them actually thought or are influenced by it, we need it for national defense. But, overall, people in Washington, especially members of Congress are influenced by politics, so they are not saying this is risky, because I know my people in my district and they don’t want this and this is a sign of weakness and we can’t afford it, but I am going to bite the bullet and risk my political career and vote for this. I don’t think that is the case, I don’t think they think deeply sometimes and I think it’s more like I wonder what my district thinks, maybe they are going to build a part of this thing.

But, I think the other overriding thing, which has been used against me is that if you don’t support everything the military does, including the illegal wars, that for some reason we don’t care for the personnel involved, we don’t care about America’s security, you are not a patriotic American and I think that is what motivates a lot of them and a lot of them are really, really good fiscal conservatives, never consider the fact that they should consider voting against some of this militarism, no matter what they read about this. I’ve never in detail interviewed or asked them, you know this stuff doesn’t work, why do you vote for it.

But, I think it’s political pressure and it’s consensus and not a full discussion. There is a lot of them, if they are not on that particular committee, it is pretty superficial, then they go along and vote for the military budget and all the hard work in getting this stuff put in, it’s done behind the scenes and with staff people and they get started and they have these hearings and all of a sudden the thing gets motivated.

I don’t know, did you come across how many years they may have been working on this? It’s been quite a few years.

Daniel McAdams: The construction on this particular aircraft carrier began in 2008, so it’s been 8 years, it’s already two years late and it probably won’t be delivered in commission until next year, so it’s quite behind.

Ron Paul: Yeah and then we more or less have dealt with the propaganda, the war propaganda, because when you think of some of the conversations we’ve had about the South China Sea, we may be in warfare for freedom of the seas once again and we have to be ready for the Chinese and they’ve talked about that and I imagine a lot of Americans would be influenced by that, but the message they don’t get is the one that you just delivered, these things don’t work, whether it’s the F-35 or an aircraft carrier, it doesn’t serve the propose even if they thought it was justified.

Daniel McAdams: And this is really the are that I remember, this is the area that I would say the deep state is strongest and that is the military budget. I remember going to briefings before we had a big DoD appropriations bill or something and the briefers would all be permanent staff, committee staff members, they worked on this their whole lives, their whole lives and their future after being in Congress, it was all relying on them being involved in ginning up support for these different weapons systems. You spend 20-30 years as a part of the deep state in the Congressional world and then you retire and go and you work for a military contractor, double or quadruple your salary. These are the people nobody questions, because nobody really sees them.

Ron Paul: And then there is a collusion between the Congressional oversight and also the Pentagon, about the report we talked about, 8 trillion dollars, wasn’t literally stolen, although I think some of this is stolen in the sense that it goes into the pockets of the military machine, the people who build these things. But, they just let it go, it doesn’t bother them one bit, they just keep spending this money.

Daniel McAdams: Yeah, there is no oversight and the money disappears, we can’t account for 8 trillion dollars, oh well, too bad.

Ron Paul: 8 trillion dollars and pretty soon we’ll add up a little bit of money or something. That is to me a shame because once again there is not a thorough audit, so I think there could very well be a collusion. It’s a little bit more than just sloppiness. In spite of how big of operation social security is, they know that politically speaking the checks go out, the electronics go out, so they can handle a lot of information, but not at the Pentagon. For some reason it is a little bit confusing and nobody has ever penalized and it seems that it serves the interests of the lobbyists, the interest of those staff people who work on it for years, it serves the interest of the Pentagon.

Daniel McAdams: And the propaganda pushes the idea to the American people that it keeps them safe, which is untrue, the opposite. We were both attracted to a piece you saw on Zero Hedge this morning that outlined the policy side and they were somewhat unrelated because we are talking about a specific class of carrier, but also on the policy side, the two of them go together so much, but the thing that struck me is the point that they made in the Zero Hedge article is essentially with the failure of central banks comes war. Central banks lose their tools and we saw this last week Jackson Hole, they lose their ability to manipulate things and it goes flaccid and then the next step is war and that is what I think is most terrifying right now.

Ron Paul: Yeah and that is the big question, because I’ve always said this is all going to come to an end, the Fed is going to come to an end, but it won’t be gradual, but they even suggested maybe the American people are waking up and maybe they will complain about this. It’s not likely to happen, but the collusion of big banking and central banking and the creation of fiat money to pay these bills, eventually it is going to come to an end and the example I’ve used so often is the Soviet system, the Soviets had a lot of weapons, but we had to talk about the threat and milk the benefits to certain individuals throughout the Cold War. But, it’s something that I think is going to continue until the whole system falls apart, but let’s hope there is more people now challenging the policy. Of course we hear from them and sometimes we think that there is a bunch of them out there that are starting to question these things and I think there are more and more people questioning this.

I often thought in campaigning and all, that when I said things that were very, very controversial, that it didn’t get me into more trouble, but it was the fact that a lot of people are thinking along those lines, but they don’t hear it and then the political damage isn’t nearly as great, because I took a lot of those positions and it never seemed to hurt me and my district, even though it might involve not voting for some of the benefits, so-called benefits to the district. Although the bigger picture, I tried to make the point that you make on the military, it doesn’t help our national security and let’s hope they wake up to this.

But, I think that there is so much going on today and in that article they also talked about really pushing and painting the picture that China and Russia are like this and I think they work together better now on economics, which is fine and dandy, but I just don’t think they are conspiring to put a dual navy in the Gulf of Mexico. We have our Navy in the waters next to China, as well as the waters next to Iran and Russia and all these things, but I don’t think even though they morally could justify, you are doing it to us, we are going to put our Navy in the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t think they are planning that, but people would have to believe that could be happening, otherwise they wouldn’t get this ship, this huge ship to protect us and talk people into wasting their money.

Daniel McAdams: The thing is if we are afraid of Russia China alliance, why does it seem like every single policy out of Washington pushes the two of them together. It’s almost as if they want them to get together, to form an alliance, so they can justify even more, two trillion next year, four trillion the year after and you notice in every place where the US is heavily intervening, you do see this kind of push of Russia and China getting together, sometimes India, Iran. But, I noticed a couple of days ago, not a big story, but I think it’s a significant story, that China is going to start training some of the Syrian military. That is something very, very different and it’ll be the Medical Corps and that sort of thing, but this is a big shift for China to come over and start doing things like this.

Ron Paul: And the other point that is made is that we more or less play nuclear chicken, we threaten here and they threaten and we have this and that and that of course we promote that, because that stirs up fear and then people will go along with these budgets. But, it’s also very dangerous too, because even though the intent isn’t to start World War III, if things get out of hand, if it’s tit for tat, eventually there could be some accident and even though maybe the American people are waking up and wanting our government to back off on this and why are we in nation-building and all these things, but all we have to do is have one plane shot down or one ship blown up or something like that and the people are just ready to go to town and do whatever the leader tells us to do, we are on war-footing now and we will have to fight them because they just shot down this airplane.

That scares me too and sometimes we should be concerned about false flags too, there could be accidents, unintended consequences, but sometimes it might be in somebody’s interest to start it, even though the two countries may be going back and forth and we might not be looking for a hot war, somebody else might think they’ll benefit from it and sort of do something and blame it on somebody else. That’s been known to happen on somebody else, that’s been known to happen in history.

Daniel McAdams: Yeah. I think that is what motivates us to work twice as hard or four times as hard on the projects of the Institute for Peace and Prosperity. We are so outspent, so out-gunned, probably a decent luncheon at one of the other big institutes would be our whole year’s budget, but we have to do what we can to try to get the word out that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Ron Paul: We’ve had this pleasant surprise and a lot more people expressed an interest in coming to Washington in September for our conference and we were both surprised and pleased because we sort of prepare, we know where we are, we have a lot of work to do, but it looks like our turnout is going to be two or three times bigger than we ever anticipated and the need is going to be there and that is the one thing that we have to be aware of, is that if they are not going to get this message from the university professors, from the newspapers that barely exist, from the TV and all, they have to get information and that is what is available to us.

Now there are communications that are available to us and others and if we are on the side of peace and prosperity and the people care and they begin to give up and I claim we live in a unique age, because the government is the enemy now. 68-70 percent of the American people they don’t trust the government and they mess up everything and we have to just prepare them for the propaganda that is going to try and scare them, either economically or politically and militarily into saying whatever is necessary, you have to take care of us, because it’s your job to make me safe forever and ever, so I will give up my liberties and I heard that statement too often over the last 15 years, the people who want all this and want more surveillance of the people, if it makes me safe, I am willing to give this up. There is a lot of people who won’t go along with that and that of course is the group that we are appealing to.

I want to thank everybody for tuning in today to the Liberty Report and please come back soon.


  • George_Costanza

    For $13 billion dollars, you can get four or five, TR-3B platform/vehicles.

  • harry freeloaderII

    Figures. President Ford was a boondoggle also.

  • JosephConrad


  • legal eagle

    They should just rename it The Floating Graveyard. Just about everyone and their relatives are acquiring supersonic anti ship missiles specifically designed to take out these sitting ducks. With junk like this and planes that won’t fly (F-35), fast transport ships that sink in high seas and nuke silos that are in disrepair you would think the US would stop trying to goad Russia and China into a shooting war, but there is just no cure for stupid.

  • robertsgt40

    Yup. Carrier gonna be as effective as its namesake. Combine that with the F35($400B and counting) and F22 programs, and you really have to wonder what are we going to fight the “big one” with? No wonder why the Pentagon can’t find trillions in expenditures. My personal favorite is the $400k helmet for the F35. And ee wonder why we’re broke?


    Can’t think of more appropriate name for a useless federal boondoggle, did it trip sliding out of the ways? Jerry The jerk.

  • Tom

    Between our mindless aircraft carrier program and the tragicomic F-35 disaster, the US may be the first time in history that a major military power defeats itself through weapons procurement corruption. I served on an aircraft carrier in the 70’s, and even back then I realized that a halfway close ICBM with a city-busting nuke aboard would be the end of combat effectiveness for our ship. Today, the same end of combat effectiveness (sinking is not necessary) could be done with a pod of swarmed drones released from a submarine, each with a quarter pound of C-4 and programmed to seek out aircraft canopies aboard a carrier. These could even fly in through the hanger bay doors and disable every aircraft aboard the ship in seconds, with the drones too small and too many to shoot down.

    • George_Costanza

      Don’t they still have the Phalanx CIWS on the carrier, as a defense of last resort?
      1550 rounds is enough to take out a swarm. {and it doesn’t that that long to reload}

  • B.F.

    Aircraft carriers are history. In World War One the battleship was the main ship of the fleet. In World War Two it was the aircraft carrier. Today any smaller ship which carries cruise missiles is the main ship of the fleet. Look at Russian corvettes. They are cheap to build and maintain, yet they fire deadly cruise missiles, as shown in Syria. After that the US Navy pulled out one of it’s aircraft carriers from the Mediterranean. Aircraft carriers today are nothing more than gigantic targets. They can only be used against small countries. If you use them against Russia or China, then they will be sunk.


      You should know by now that the purpose of the military is not to protect or serve, but to squeeze every last dime out of a project so that it then can be fixed. F35 billion dollar plane that cant fly in the rain, and needs 200 techs to service it. All you have to do to put it out of action is to piss on it or bomb the home base of the techs and kill them.

  • Greg Shane

    Inertia, plain and simple. We build aircraft carriers because the Navy’s been doing it since WWII. Whole parts of the Navy and its industrial base are geared toward building and manning aircraft carriers. The Air Force is doing the same thing with the ridiculous F-35. The idea of expensive, human-operated combat aircraft seems almost quaint now and opens up a huge vulnerability to any foreign power less beholden to tradition.