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Project on Government Oversight
Winslow Wheeler, Director, Straus Military Reform Project

Winslow Wheeler

Director, Straus Military Reform Project, CDI at POGO

wwheeler@pogo.org

Year Started At POGO: 2012

Areas of Expertise: Defense budget, Weapons, and Congress

Winslow T. Wheeler focuses on the defense budget, why some weapons work and others don't, congressional oversight, and the politics of Pentagon spending. Before joining the Center for Defense Information in 2002, he worked on Capitol Hill for four U.S. Senators from both political parties and for the Government Accountability Office. At GAO and the Senate, Wheeler focused on Pentagon budget issues, weapons testing, the performance of U.S. systems in actual combat, and the U.S. strategic "triad" of nuclear weapons.

POGO Highlights:

Contributor of periodic articles to Foreign Policy magazine and to TIME Magazine's Battleland blog 

Edited The Pentagon Labyrinth: 10 Short Essays to Help You Through It, an anthology explaining the Pentagon in ways no others have

The Fight Over the A-10 May Just Be Beginning

November 17, 2014

Despite strong provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, Bloomberg is reporting that the Congressional leaders are very seriously considering an Air Force proposal to contravene the language, and money, of both bills to proceed with the "divestiture" (retirement) of the A-10 in 2015.

A Ray of Light from Senator Durbin’s Defense Subcommittee: Will It Brighten or Fade?

September 26, 2014

When members of Congress show even faint signs of departing from their habitual abuse of the public purse, it merits attention.

Lockheed's Response to NYT Editorial was Misleading

August 14, 2014

POGO's Danielle Brian and Winslow Wheeler joined Pierre Sprey, the co-designer of the F-16 and A-10, in writing a letter to the editor of the New York Times concerning a recent editorial about the troubles with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

A Big Week for the F-35?

July 11, 2014

The largest defense program in U.S. history—the F-35—is facing two critical events this coming week.

Buck McKeon's A-10 Sell-Out

May 7, 2014

Supporters of the A-10 "Warthog" close air support aircraft in Washington and US combat Soldiers and Marines who have seen, and are seeing, combat in Afghanistan were stunned Monday to read about a decision of the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Buck McKeon (R-CA).

An Inadequate Defense Budget? Compared to Whom? Compared to When?

April 25, 2014

Many Republicans and numerous Democrats, especially on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, have been characterizing the US defense budget as inadequate. Absent from all their talking points are three salient facts:

New F-35 Claim: Lower O&S Estimate More than Offsets Higher Acquisition Cost

April 24, 2014

Last week the Defense Department released its new report on its major weapon programs. One key point in the report seems to have been missed: The cost to acquire the F-35 has gone up compared to last year’s estimate.

The Latest Word on F-35 Unit Cost

January 3, 2014

2013 ended with some outrageous claims from Lockheed-Martin on the oh-so low cost of the F-35 in just a few years. Sadly, the prognostications were reported in multiple major defense media outlets without balance or any checking for the available empirical data. In his first blog post for 2014, Winslow Wheeler attempts to set the record straight.

Flashy F-35 Press Release Misses Landing

March 27, 2013

The Marines issued a flashy press release last week: “first operational F-35B conducts initial Vertical Landing.” It was an amateurish, somewhat slimy piece of hype.

The Air Force's F-35A: Not Ready for Combat, Not Even Ready for Combat Training

March 6, 2013

A new report, titled "F-35A Joint Strike Fighter: Readiness for Training Operational Utility Evaluation," reveals yet more disappointments on the status and performance of the F-35 fighter jet.

A Stampede of Hysterics

February 15, 2013

The Pentagon seems ready to implement the cuts mandated by law in the most destructive, negative way possible, which has the convenient effect -- for them -- of pushing Congress and the White House to cough up more money.

Powering the Pacific ''Pivot'' with Leon and Chuck

January 23, 2013

Greg Jaffe’s Washington Post article last August offers a good explanation for Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s hysteria about defense budget cuts, and a useful criterion to assess Panetta’s nominated replacement, former Senator Chuck Hagel.

Will Chuck Hagel Stand Up to the Drone Lobby?

January 8, 2013

Everyone seems to have an opinion about Chuck Hagel and the speculation is almost entirely based on what former Senator Hagel has said, rather than his actions--or lack of them--which speak a lot louder.

Is the Fleet Steaming Forward ... Or Backward?

December 17, 2012

In part 3 of his series on the U.S. Navy, Winslow Wheeler looks at the prevailing wisdom that America’s smaller fleet is more capable than the U.S. Navy of yore because of higher capability per individual ship. It is a dangerous assumption.

More Than the Navy's Numbers Could be Sinking

December 16, 2012

The shrinking size of the Navy's fleet is just one variable in considering its adequacy: the ability to perform assigned missions, especially after withstanding whatever threats may exist, is a far better measure than mere numbers.

If More Money Buys a Smaller Fleet, What Will Less Money Buy?

December 14, 2012

Winslow Wheeler takes a look into the future of the U.S. Navy given our present budget situation.

How the F-35 Nearly Doubled In Price (And Why You Didn't Know)

July 9, 2012

On June 14 - Flag Day, of all days - the Government Accountability Office released a new oversight report on the F-35: Joint Strike Fighter: DOD Actions Needed to Further Enhance Restructuring and Address Affordability Risks. As usual, it contained some important information on growing costs and other problems. Also as usual, the press covered the new report, albeit a bit sparsely.

A Peek at Pentagon Pork: A Taxpayers' Guide

May 29, 2012

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee (sometimes called the HAC-D) have reported their separate defense bills to the House of Representatives (both bills purport to address both spending and policy).

April 14, 2014

We still can’t afford the F-35

The Hill | By William D. Hartung

March 31, 2014

Aviation Insider: F-35 Lightning II

Flight Journal | By Robert F. Dorr

March 30, 2014

Retiring the Air Force's star player is a mistake, A-10 supporters say

Arizona Daily Star | By David Wichner David Wichner wichner@azstarnet.com 2

March 24, 2014

GAO Questions Affordability of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Government Executive at govexec.com | By Charles S. Clark

March 23, 2014

Experts Tell Defense Planners to Expect Unexpected

Military.com | By Barrie Barber

March 6, 2014

The Pentagon's Phony Budget War

Mother Jones | By Mattea Kramer

February 24, 2014

Pentagon's Chuck Hagel plans to downsize US military

BBC News | By David Willis

February 24, 2014

Proposed Pentagon budget favors high-tech over personnel

Stars and Stripes | By Jon Harper

February 14, 2014

The Men Who Really Run the Pentagon

CounterPunch | By POGO's Winslow Wheeler

January 20, 2014

The Pentagon has no defense against lawmakers and their spending

The Washington Post | By Walter Pincus

January 20, 2014

$1B in Air Force cargo planes sent to boneyard get new missions

Stars and Stripes via Dayton (Ohio) Daily News | By Barrie Barber

December 9, 2013

U.S. bomber planes may carry $81 billion price tag

Bloomberg News; The Columbus Dispatch | By Tony Capaccio

July 18, 2013

Camouflage costs lead to military dispute

Marketplace | By by Nancy Marshall-Genzer

May 14, 2013

Lockheed CEO Backs F-35

Wall Street Journal | By Dion Nissenbaum