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Matthew Avecilla
Dr. Guenzel
ENC 1102-0205
March 14, 2013

When writing my research paper it is important that the sources I use are reliable and
valid. Being able to analyze sources is essential to good writing. When analyzing a source a few
things to consider are the purpose, the claims used, and the authors. Here, I will analyze one of
my sources I intend to use. This article, by Marias and Rosen, is from Business Insider and looks
at problems with the F-35 JSF program, especially coding problems. Despite being somewhat
short, there is still a lot to look at in this article.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, originating from a few different programs I the
80s and early 90s, was intended to replace older platforms in the Air Force, Navy, and Marine
Corps as a multirole fighter. The F-35 would replace some older platforms, and incorporate new
technology. Selected based on certain characteristics, like the need for a multirole platform that
could accommodate STOVL (short takeoff vertical landing) and VTOL (vertical takeoff and
landing) engines that could be used in multiple services at a relatively low cost. However, the
program was plagued by setbacks and cost increases, and has, despite its original goal, become
the most expensive jet ever. The article explains that F-35s were developed to dogfight, provide
close air support, execute long-range bombing attacks, and take off from and land on aircraft

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carriers all the while using the most advanced stealth capabilities available (Marias and
Rosen). Then the three variants of the F-35 are described. The Air Forces F-35A is meant to be
agile and have the greatest range, while using a conventional runway to takeoff and land. The
Marine Corps F-35B can take off and land without a runway and is ideal for the amphibious
operations of the Marines. Finally the Navys F-35C can take off from and land on an aircraft
carrier. The Marine Corps declared the F-35B ready for combat in 2015. The program has
already cost the pentagon almost 400 billion dollars. The program has been and still is often
criticized over problems in quality, cost, and safety concerns (F-35 Lightning II Program).
The article This is What Regret Looks Like for the Pentagon by Amanda Macias and
Armin Rosen in the magazine Business Insider. The article takes a look at a problem that has
recently arisen, problems with the F-35 software. It also looks at the programs history, which
has been plagued by problems, delays, and cost increases. The article asserts that America's
most expensive warplane's turbulent march to combat readiness is far from over. The main
support used in the article is problems in the aircrafts Block 3F software. The Block 3F software
is part of eight million lines of code that the F-35 JSF uses. According to the article errors in the
coding the coding are being found faster than they are being corrected. As Macias and Rosen
state In short, if the code fails, the F-35 fails. However, the authors do more than address just
one facet of the project. Macias and Rosen also outline the history and purpose of the problem
and address how the Air Force isnt expected to declare the F-35s initial operational capability ,
or IOC, until later this year; and the Navy isnt expected to declare the F-35s IOC until at least
2018.
This article addresses a complex issue with many facets, and therefore further analysis is
important. The first thing to consider is the authors, Amanda Macias and Armin Rosen.

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According to Business Insider Marias has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri
and has experience reporting on both NATO and the EU. Based on this she should have
experience reporting on defense issues. Rosen is an experienced international journalist who has
written for a variety of publications and reported from many different regions. Given their
experience and background, as well as the fact they had a co-author, they are unlikely to be very
biased. It is somewhat unusual that the article focuses entirely on the F-35 JSF in the United
States, given the authors international background, given that orders for the F-35 have already
been placed internationally, but this does not detract from the information in the article.
However, neither have a strong background in aeronautics or military science, so their
assessment may be oversimplified. This piece, published in a business magazine, is probably
aimed at a neutral audience with little knowledge on the topic. This can be seen in the definition
of even basic jargon. However, the article is in a business publication, and there may be more
emphasis placed on cost and production timelines, rather than on safety of effectiveness. The
authors do a good job backing all their claims with evidence, avoiding personal opinion. Almost
all the support appeals to locos, citing statistics, facts, and expert testimony.
The article argues that despite its large budget the F-35 program is still problematic in
terms of safety, performance, and efficiency. Basically the authors think the program was a bad
investment. The software problems the article focuses on are portrayed as the most recent in a
string of failures. Marias and Rosen also mention heavily on the high cost and repeated setbacks
of the program. The argument is clear, the F-35 program is a failure.
The authors go as far as to attach the main article they used for information in addition to
citing sources. The main source used in this article is a December 11, 2015 report by Michael
Gilmore, the top weapons tester for the pentagon. The authors consider the counter-argument that

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some F-35Bs have been declared combat ready, but then cite some problems that still exist to
refute that point, such as that the F-35B is still undergoing weapons testing. The text first
explains the specifics of the Block 3F software problem, then explains the F-35 JSF project, and
draws conclusions about it. The text is organized in good way, but could be more organized,
perhaps in a chronological sequence. Pictures are included but serve mostly to make the article
visually appealing rather than to contribute information. An exception to this is an image with
three variants next to each other, visually depicting the differences between the F-35A, F-35B,
and F-35C being described in the article. The authors tone is semi-formal, which is appropriate
for both the topic and the publication the article is in. The article is also very concise, which is to
be expected for this type of article. Overall the authors did a very good job writing a text that is
both persuasive and presents reliable information in an unbiased and appropriate way.
One shortcoming of this article is that it focuses on only one issue. There are many
criticisms of the F-35 JSF project that could have been used to support the authors claim that the
F-35 isnt good. The article mentions a few of these in passing, but does not look at them in
depth, except for in terms of cost. The article is also very brief. This is because the article for an
online journal, and is following the format. Further information can be found in the attached
report and goes more in depth on the issues in the Block 3F coding, and looks at issues other than
just the software problems. Generally I think that additional content could have really help make
the article better. Another shortcoming is the lack of comparisons made by this article. For
example, the F-22 project was also plagued by cost increases and setbacks, suggesting that these
issues are somewhat common in the development of military technology. The authors also dont
compare the F-35 to other similar platforms, like the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, or J31, which are being developed outside of the United States. Again this seems odd given the

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authors international background. Generally more information and better context would make
the article much more useful.
For my research paper, this article is beneficial because it analyzes some of the problems
with the F-35 program. Amanda Macias and Armin Rosen address one specific problem in the
historic context of the F-35 program. Through this specific example, conclusions can be drawn
about other historic issues with the program. The points the authors use will be very helpful
developing one point of view in my paper, and can be contextualized using the background
information in the article. I will definitely use the Block 3F problem cited in this article for
evidence in my research paper. In addition, this web article pointed me to the Department of
Defense report, which is also a good resource for me to use. Even if I do not use this article, I
will probably use the Department of Defense report because of the amount of detail it includes.

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Works Cited

F-35 Lightning II Program. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22,


2016, http://www.jsf.mil/program/index.htm (Links to an external site.)

Macia, A., & Rosen, A. (2016, February 02). This is what regret looks like for the
Pentagon. Retrieved March 18, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/f-35-setback2016-2