ACTION ALERT: Ground the F-35

October 19th, 2022 - by CODEPINK

ACTION ALERT: Ground the Costly,
Trouble-plagued, Underperforming F-35


(October 18, 2022) — Over 220 global organizations are calling for a complete cancellation of the F-35 program. Add your name to express support for defunding the program and investing the massive F-35 budget into life affirming programs like healthcare, education, and housing!

President Biden & Members of Congress,

We, the undersigned organizations from around the world, are calling for a cancellation of the F-35 program, an end to F-35 training in residential areas like South Burlington, Vermont and Madison, Wisconsin, and a reinvestment of the project’s funds to life affirming programs. We are making these demands based on the harm caused abroad, cost of the program to the taxpayer, inefficiencies and failures, the environmental impact of F-35s, and the effects training has on local communities.

Harm Caused Through Militarism
We primarily stand firmly against the F-35 as a weapon of war. Although not ready for full-scale production, the US intends on producing countless F-35s to sell around the world that will without a doubt be used to harm people living in the Global South.

F-35s have the capacity to carry nuclear weapons, and the deployment of these jets only aids nuclear proliferation.

The US already makes up 40% of the global arms trade, aiding and abetting war crimes all over the world. Israel is procuring F-35’s from the United States which have already been used to launch airstrikes on Gaza  to further Israel’s goals of ethnic cleansing and displacement in Palestine.

Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in F-35s as well as the UAE while both countries wage a brutal war on Yemen. The F-35 is a disaster of a project, but also a potential disaster for humanity.

Inefficiencies and Failures
The F-35 spending is becoming impossible for important members of Congress to justify. The Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith called the F-35 a “rathole.”

Another member of HASC, Rep. John Garamendi had some scathing comments about the F-35 in a HASC subcommittee hearing in May:
“For the contractors out there, what are you doing? Why can’t you give us a piece of equipment that actually works? You should never have a contract. And for Lockheed, you want a five-year maintenance contract? You can’t do what you’re doing today. Come on. What are we thinking? If I have not adequately expressed my frustration, I would assume that my frustration is less than the frustration of the pilots and the maintainers out there. … The primary maintenance responsibility on this is Lockheed and you gentlemen.”

The Government Accountability Office said the F-35 “continues to fall short of prescribed mission-capable rates and is consistently missing reliability targets”. According to the GAO, the F-35A in 2021 was fully mission capable 50% of the time, while the F-35B was fully mission capable less than 20 percent of the time. The F-35c was only capable 9.5% of the time.

The signatories call attention to the failures of the program to address harmful projects seeing never-ending investment while programs that protect people such as universal healthcare never see the light of day.

Cost to the Taxpayer
The failures of the program make the spending impossible to justify, even from a militaristic standpoint. The F-35 program is the Department of Defense’s most expensive weapon system program. As of now, the F-35’s projected total cost is $1.7 trillion, which includes $1.3 trillion in estimated operations and sustainment over 66 years.

The F-35 is horribly behind schedule, experiencing massive cost overruns with maintenance costs doubling. The F-35 is not ready for full-scale production. According to the GAO, “if DOD moves forward as planned, it will have bought a third of all F-35s before determining that the aircraft is ready to move into full-rate production.” Spending billions to trillions of dollars on a plane that is not yet up to speed with what the government has requested is poor fiscal policy.

Environmental Impact
F-35s also have a significant impact on the environment with their high carbon emissions and pollution on local bases. The F-35 uses a significant amount of fuel — about 2.37 gallons of fuel for every mile traveled and around 1,340 gallons of fuel per hour. This is particularly egregious compared to the F-35’s predecessor, the F-16, which used at least 415 gallons of fuel-per-hour less.

One single F-35 tank of gas produces the equivalent of 28 metric tons of carbon dioxide. These emissions heavily pollute air and water sources in basing locations in the US and abroad.

Base site construction for F-35 training in the US has also disregarded the need for environmental remediation of pre-existing contaminants such as PFAS, risking further pollution of surrounding communities. F35 pollution is an environmental justice issue, as they are disproportionately tested, trained, and deployed in low-income communities of color.

These environmental impacts do not even account for the role of the plane in active combat. As they’re deployed around the world, we see Lockheed Martin’s jets subjecting communities globally to egregious noise levels, environmental contamination, and the risk of nuclear warfare.

The F-35 is also a part of the US strategic nuclear bomber force, possessing the capability to carry and deploy the B61-12 guided nuclear bomb. If deployed, this bomb — and all other nuclear weapons — would have catastrophic long-term environmental consequences.

Effect on US Locals
Currently, F-35 training in Vermont disrupts the lives of working-class people. The training is irregular and Vermonters go without warning of when these trainings will take place.  The noise caused by the F-35 hits 115 decibels, which especially hurts and injures infants and children, the elderly, and the disabled.

The F-35 has 300 to 600 takeoffs and landings a month.

Let’s consider the City of Winooski, VT. More than half the city is within the US Air Force designated 5.2-mile by 1.2-mile oval-shaped F-35 noise target zone centered on the runway. Winooski is a working-class city, the most densely populated in Vermont, with the state’s most ethnic diversity.

As reported by the US Air Force itself in 2013, repeated exposure to military aircraft noise at the level of the F-35, can damage hearing. The Air Force also reported that the much lower aircraft noise level produced by civilian aircraft was still sufficient to impair the learning and cognitive development of children living in the flight path of heavily used commercial airports.

The US Air Force identified the entire oval-shaped noise target zone as an area “generally considered unsuitable for residential use.” So it was no secret for the state’s political and military leaders that locating the F-35 at BTV would cause pain and injury to children and adults on a mass scale.

In Madison, where the F-35’s are likely to end up starting in the next few years, Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin has identified the following risks to children as a result of loud noise and air pollution:

  • Preterm or low birth weights
  • Delayed speech development
  • Hearing loss
  • Interference with concentration, long term memory
  • Interference with reading and math comprehension

In addition, adults as well as children would face increased risk of:

  • Stress hormones that cause sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Strokes

For all the aforementioned reasons, we, the undersigned organizations, reject the government’s reckless over investment in the F-35 program and demand its immediate cancellation. The costs of this program to the taxpayer, the environment, local communities, and the communities upon which the US and its allies will wage war are too high to justify.

It is time for the government to prioritize the welfare of human beings and the planet over military superiority and the weapons industry’s profits.

We call on our policy makers to cancel the F-35 program, cancel training within the US and reinvest that money into universal healthcare, student debt forgiveness, housing guarantees and more.


CODEPINK: Women For Peace
Roger Waters, Co-Founder of Pink Floyd
Ben Cohen, Co-Founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
Noam Chomsky, Linguist
Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of CODEPINK
Jodie Evans, Co-Founder of CODEPINK
Abby Martin, Journalist
Bill Ayers, Activist/Professor of Education
Bernardine Dohrn, Activist/Law Professor

Endorsing Organizations
Boundary Peace Initiative
Canadian Foreign Policy Institute
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
Conscience Canada
Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice, Canada
Global Peace Alliance Society
Gravelbourg & District Tribune Weekly Newspaper
Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War
Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste
Montréal for a World BEYOND War
Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace
Pax Christi Toronto, Canada
Peace Alliance Winnipeg
Regina Peace Council
Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste, Canada
Victoria Peace Coalition
Winnipeg Branch Association of United Ukrainian Canadians
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Canada
World BEYOND War – Vancouver
Canadian Peace Congress
Pivot2Peace (S. Geo. Bay Chapter, WBW)
The Canada Files
Berlin World Beyond War Chapter, Coop Antiwar Cafe
Bundesausschuss Friedensratschlag
Deutscher Friedensrat e.V. (German Peace Council)
Forum against Militarism and War, Heidelberg, Germany
Friedensglockengesellschaft e.V., Berlin
International Peace Bureau (IPB)
Food Not Bombs
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
World BEYOND War
Loresho Ridge Art Commune, Nairobi, Kenya
Nuevo País, México.
Consejo de Organizaciones Sociales y Populares
Women in Black, Madrid
Women in Black, Spain
Group For a Switzerland Without an Army
Campaign Against Arms Trade
Shadow World Investigations
Stop the War Coalition (UK)
Tipping Point North South/Transform Defence Project
350 Milwaukee
350 Wisconsin
About Face: Veterans Against War
Action Corps
Alaska Peace Center
American Friends Service Committee
Anti-Imperialist Action Committee
Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (USA)
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Backbone Campaign
Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Ban Killer
Banish The F35s Party
Barrymore Theatre
Brandywine Peace Community
Broome County NY Peace Action
Building Unity
Call To Action – Madison Area, Inc.
Casa Baltimore Limay
Citizens Against Nuclear Bombers
Citizens for Peace
CODEPINK Chicago – DivestMike
CODEPINK Golden Gate Chapter
Community Organizing Center
Crawford Stewardship Project
Demilitarize Western Massachusetts
Divest Ed
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Washington DC
DSA International Committee
Earth care not warfare
Eisenhower Media Network
El Centro de la Raza
Environmentalists Against War
Extinction Rebellion DC
Family Farm Defenders
FCNL Lansing Area Advocacy Team
Feel The Bern San Fernando Valley Democratic Club
Fellowship of Reconciliation, USA
Feminist Foreign Policy Project
Feminist Peace Initiative
Florida for a World Beyond War
Foreign Policy Team, Progressive Democrats of America
Four Lakes Green Party
Fox Valley Peace Coalition – Appleton, WI, USA
Freedom Forward
Friends of FRanz & Ben
Friends of Starkweather Creek
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Granny Peace Brigade NYC
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
Harambee Village Doulas
Harmony With Our Planet – NJ
Hawai’i Peace and Justice
Health Advocacy International
Historians for Peace and Democracy
Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project
Interfaith Peace Working Group
Iowa Peace Network
Justice and Peace Team, Edgewood United Church, East Lansing, MI
Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice
Kalamazoo nonviolent opponents of war
Kateri Peace Conference
Kickapoo Peace Circle
L.I.Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives
Lansing Area Peace Education Center
Lauren Faith Smith Ministry for Nonviolence
LEPOCO Peace Center
Linda and Gene Farley Center for Peace, Justice & Sustainability
Long Beach Area Peace Network
Madison Area DSA
Madison Environmental Justice Organization
Madison Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
Maine Veterans For Peace
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Maryland Peace Action
Maryland United for Peace and Justice
Massachusetts Peace Action
Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild
Military Poisons
Minnesota Peace Project
Mothers Against Gun Violence
Muslim Peace Fellowship
National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
Nevada Desert Experience
No More Bombs
Nuclear Ban.US
Olympia Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Our Revolution Baltimore City/County
Our Wisconsin Revolution
Partners for Palestine
Pax Christi Lansing
Pax Christi Madison
Pax Christi Metro New York
Pax Christi New York State
Pax Christi Upstate New York
Pax Christi USA
Peace Action
Peace Action Bay Ridge
Peace Action Maine
Peace Action New York State
Peace Action of Michigan
Peace Action of San Mateo County
Peace Action WI
Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group (Portland, OR)
Peace, Justice, Sustainability NOW!
People for Peace & Security
People’s City Council
Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin
Pregnancy Options Wisconsin: Education, Resources, & Support, Inc
Quaker Palestine Israel Network
Rachel Corrie Chapter 109 Veterans For Peace
Racine (WI) Coalition for Peace & Justice
Redwood City Catholic Worker
ReThinking Foreign Policy
Rooms for PEACE
Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin
School Sisters of Notre Dame – CP JPIC
Seattle Anti-War Coalition
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team
Socialist Law Students of Wisconsin
Solidarity Realty
Spokane Veterans For Peace #035
STEM Strikes for Peace
Syracuse Peace council
Syracuse Veterans for Peace chapter 51
Tacoma Fellowship of Reconciliation
The Center for International Policy (CIP)
The Herd of Northern Vermonters
Transformative Wealth Management, LLC
US Labor Against Racism and War
UNA USA Chapter of Greater Detroit
Unity of Madison
upstate (ny/usa) drone action
Uptown Progressive Action
US Boats to Gaza
Veterans For Peace
Veterans For Peace Chapter 113 Hawai’i
Veterans For Peace Chapter 27
Veterans for Peace chapter 90
Veterans for Peace Chapter 90 Binghamton NY
Veterans For Peace Golden Rule Project
Veterans For Peace Jon Miles Chapter 13, Tucson
Veterans For Peace Linus Pauling Chapter 132
Veterans for Peace Madison, Clarence Kailin CH. 25 25
Veterans For Peace Maine Chapter
Veterans for Peace the Hector Black Chapter
Veterans for Peace Vermont
Veterans for Peace-Chapter 136, The Villages, Florida
Veterans For Peace, Milwaukee Chapter 102
Veterans for Peace, North Texas
Veterans For Peace, Santa Fe NM Chapter
Washington Against Nuclear Weapons
Washington Poor People’s Campaign
WESPAC Foundation, Inc.
Western WA FOR Seattle Chapter
Whatcom Peace & Justice Center
WI Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice
Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice
Wisconsin Resources Protection Council
Women Against Military Madness
Women Cross DMZ
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom – Madison WI Branch
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Burlington VT Branch
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom- Triangle Branch
World Beyond War Naples Chapter
World Without War
Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation
NH Peace Action
Raytheon Anti-War Campaign – Massachusetts
Yemeni Alliance Committee
Yemeni Liberation Movement

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