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Keyword: ‘f-35’
July 1st, 2011 at 10:39 am
Pentagon: The Supposedly “Self-Funded” Duplicate F-35 Engine Will Eventually Leave Taxpayers on the Hook
Posted by Print

Remember the wasteful duplicate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Figher that just wouldn’t die?

Or, more accurately, that appropriators refused to let die?

Pratt & Whitney won the contract to produce the F-35 engine fair and square.  But forces in Congress continued to promote a wasteful alternative version developed by General Electric/Rolls-Royce.  The Pentagon doesn’t want the duplicate engine.  The Senate voted it down.  The House voted it down.  The Bush White House sought to stop it.  Even the infamously spendthrift Obama White House has sought to stop it.

Most recently, General Electric/Rolls-Royce claimed to offer to “self-fund” development of the duplicate engine for the next few years.  The problem is that “self-funding” is a scheme to eventually place American taxpayers on the hook at a later date.  That is the conclusion of none other than Ashton Carter, Defense Department Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.  Responding to an inquiry from Senator Joe Lieberman, Carter confirmed that allowing the duplicate engine to continue would eventually mean government funding:

Regarding ‘self-funding,’ as you know, the Department estimates that developing the F136 engine and preparing it for completion would cost $480 million in Fiscal Year 2012 and would take six years and $2.9 billion to complete.  Unless this full expense is covered by the F136 contractor, the ‘self-funded’ effort would simply be a means to reestablish government funding for development of the F136 at a later date.  Furthermore, in order to ensure that the engine was truly self-funded by the contractor, Section 252 would need to state that any and all costs associated with the further development of the F136 engine and preparation for competition would be unrecoverable directly or indirectly in any present (via overhead charges) or future contract with the US Government.  This would extend the prohibition against the Government paying for the support or use of the Government’s property to the contractor’s costs for developing the F136 engine and preparing it for completion.

The Department appreciates your support for the JSF program and your interest in ensuring its success.  It is our firm view that Sections 215 and 252 would significantly impede this objective.”

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will help ensure American air superiority into the future, but it is also the largest acquisition program in Defense Department history.  We simply cannot afford to let the wasteful duplicate engine proposal to continue jeopardizing the program’s vitality and cost-efficiency.

April 29th, 2011 at 1:03 pm
Fiscal Victory: DOD Announces Termination of Duplicative F-35 Engine
Posted by Print

Although the campaign for America’s fiscal survival continues, it is important to recognize battle victories along the way.

CFIF has participated in the effort to stop the duplicative, unnecessary and wasteful second engine for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that refused to die.  Pratt & Whitney was awarded production of the F-35 engine, but forces in Congress perpetuated the wasteful General Electric/Rolls-Royce second engine.  The Pentagon doesn’t want it.  The Senate has voted it down.  The House has voted it down.  The Bush White House sought to stop it.  The Obama White House has sought to stop it.

Unfortunately, the second engine project rambled on at a cost to taxpayers of $1 million per day, because of Beltway pork-barrel political forces and the previous Congress’s failure to even pass a 2011 budget.

But at long last, the Defense Department this week instructed G.E. and Rolls Royce that the second engine contract has been terminated.  This is progress.

March 28th, 2011 at 12:51 pm
Defense Department: Stop Wasting Critical Dollars on Duplicate F-35 Engine
Posted by Print

The Pentagon doesn’t want it.  The Senate has voted it down.  The House has voted it down.  The Bush White House sought to stop it.  The Obama White House has sought to stop it.

Yet the unnecessary duplicate engine for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter refused to die, riding the wave of Washington, D.C. pork-barrel political force.

Fortunately,  the Defense Department has ordered General Electric and Rolls-Royce to stop wasting dollars on a second engine for the F-35.

Pratt & Whitney serves as the main producer of the F-35 engine, but forces in Congress perpetuated the wasteful General Electric and Rolls-Royce second engine.  Although both the House and Senate have voted to end the second engine and allocate those precious defense dollars on more critical needs, the project kept going because the previous Congress never passed a 2011 budget.  That left the Defense Department to operate on continuing resolutions based on the fiscal 2010 appropriations.

It’s an embarrassing illustration of wasteful Beltway politics, and a reminder of what we who favor fiscal sanity must continually overcome.  Fortunately, the Defense Department just provided an assist in that effort.

June 4th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
The Pentagon’s $3 Billion Battleship

Technically, the pricey new ship in the U.S. Navy’s fleet as of 2014 is a destroyer named DDG-1000.  It comes equipped with electromagnetic “railguns,” a “wave-piercing” hull that doesn’t leave a wake, and “advanced sonar and missiles.”

But before you get too excited, the DDG-1000 program might get terminated before too long for two reasons.

The first is that like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the DDG-1000 is threatening to set records with cost overruns.  According to Fox News, at $3.1 billion per ship a DDG-1000 costs about twice as much as current destroyers.  (The total price tag hits $7 billion each “when research and development is added in…”)

The second is perhaps even more problematic.  Chinese Rear Admiral Zhang Zhaozhong issued a warning about the alleged capabilities of the ‘super-stealth’ DDG-1000.  All he would need to overcome the ship’s technological advantages would be to swarm the vessel with several fishing boats laden with explosives.  If one gets through – on a suicide mission, of course – it could literally blow up US taxpayers’ investment.

Nice things cost money, and even the best technology can be laid to waste by comparatively low-tech responses.  Still, public and private watch dog groups need to keep an eye on how the DDG-1000 develops.  We can’t afford not to.

September 26th, 2011 at 7:55 pm
Congressional Analysis Shows Pending Pentagon Cuts Would Gut National Defense
Posted by Print

In my column last week, I detailed the devastation that the Pentagon will be in for should the bipartisan congressional “supercommittee” not enact major debt reduction by early next year. While paring back the size of the federal government is essential, the Obama Administration was unspeakably reckless in allowing defense cuts that could reach over $1 trillion to be triggered automatically should the committee fail to act.

The staff of the House Armed Services Committee has now released their analysis of the proposed reductions and, according to a report in Politico, the outcomes could be every bit as dire as warned:

The analysis notes that the Navy would need to take two aircraft carrier battle groups out of service and the Air Force would lose a third of its fighters. The Marine Corps would no longer be able to maintain forward-deployed amphibious forces around the world. New weapons systems, such as the Navy and Marine Corps’ versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, would be canceled. The U.S. nuclear arsenal would be drastically reduced and modernization plans scrapped.

Aside from the troop cuts, there would also be massive layoffs of Pentagon civilian employees and the elimination of many jobs in the defense industry, according to the analysis.

The Obama Administration never runs out of supplicants. Whether it’s labor unions, “green energy” firms, or corporate friends who can get a waiver from Obamacare in the blink of an eye, there seems to be no one that the administration doesn’t have unlimited cash available for on an on-demand basis. No one, that is, except the men and women of the United States military.
February 17th, 2011 at 7:20 pm
Military Engine Few Want Finally Gets Voted Down

A funny thing happened when House Republicans opened up the process to allow amendments to spending bills: a bipartisan coalition voted overwhelmingly to cancel a $3 billion boondoggle.

Interestingly, the project killed was the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s alternative engine.  Following a well-trodden path to budgetary immortality, contractors General Electric and Rolls Royce spread the work around many states hoping enough Congress members would vote to keep the money flowing to their districts.

No more.  Both the Bush and Obama administrations have called for the termination of the alternative engine program as a way to cut waste in the Pentagon’s budget.  After years of work and billions in spending everyone involved anticipates billions more in appropriations before the engine becomes operational.

With yesterday’s vote to stem the tide of red ink on the books, let’s hope there are more chances for an open budget process that saves taxpayers money.