A Qualitative Advantage

By Lieutenant Colonel David "Chip" Berke

Lieutenant Colonel David Chip Berke is a 22-year veteran of the Marine Corps. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan and has accumulated over 2800 flight hours in the F/A-18, F-16, F-22, and F-35. The views expressed in this interview are his own, and not necessarily those of the United States Marine Corps.

As the most expensive procurement program in history, the F-35 program exemplifies both the promise and pitfalls of developing and deploying an advanced weapons platform. After years of delays and cost overruns, in 2016 the program reached an important milestone: the USAF, the largest buyer of the airplane, declared it combat ready. In reviewing defense procurement in 2016, The Cipher Brief revisits a Q&A with Marine Corps pilot Lt. Col. David Berke, who makes the case for the F-35’s qualitative advantage over other jets.

The Cipher Brief: Can you explain why a 5th generation aircraft like the F-35 is qualitatively different than a 4th generation one such as the F-16 or F-18?

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