Omnibus, NDAA, CR, F136 — Sing It!

Omnibus, NDAA, CR, F136 — Sing It!

House CR Allows Dual LCS Buy

The Senate seems to be leaning toward an omnibus spending bill to keep the government going next year. The House is moving a continuing resolution that would effectively freeze spending at current levels. Why does all this matter for the F136, the second engine for the Joint Strike Fighter?

After four conversations with congressional aides and congressional experts to try and figure out just what this might mean for the F136, one conclusion stands out stark and clear. It all depends.

An omnibus bill could either be much better for the F136 or it could be much worse.  If an omnibus bill can make it through the House and the Senate in the relatively short time left to this Congress, and if it contains language that requires the government spend money on the F136, then it would be good.  If the bill leaves it up to the government whether it wants to fund the F136, then that would effectively hand the Office of Management and Budget the ability to pay for the program or to let it die on the vine. Bet that it would let it die after all those veto threats from President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

If the House CR moves through both bodies and heads to the White House for signature that would effectively hand the White House the same power as an omnibus that does not direct funding. The Continuing Resolution being considered does not contain any language requiring the government to fund the F136.

To some degree this is a game of chicken between the two legislative bodies. The CR is easiest to pass because it is the simplest. But there are factors that weigh in favor of the an omnibus bill. The Democratic leadership is pretty committed to passing Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell legislation and that could be stuffed inside an omnibus. And an omnibus bill can contain far more goodies for

Then again, Sen. Harry Reid, Democratic leader in the Senate, said he wants to pass a defense policy bill. A defense policy bill that made it past the House would be likely to contain language requiring the government spend money on the F136. And there’s that Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell angle again. The Democratic leadership in the House wants to pass it and that language would make most sense in the policy bill.

Finally, the House CR contains language allowing the Navy to buy both version of the Littoral Combat Ship: “The Secretary of the Navy may award 16 a contract or contracts for up to 20 Littoral Combat Ships 17 subject to the availability of appropriated funds for such purpose.”

And in an interesting wrinkle, the House granted the Pentagon “broad authority to realign funding to accommodate programs and projects planned for FY 2011, including new program starts, significant changes in program emphasis or quantities, and
programs not funded in FY 2010 that are planned to resume in FY 2011,” as the bill summary puts it. One caveat: “Funding realignment requires Congressional approval.”

Join the Conversation

Good Evening Folks,

I don’t know if this post will go through, it will be my second tonight, but here goes.

I don’t think the Navy has to worry about the LCS. The Navy needs to keep the existing ship yards open and to do that they must build ships. Also in the mix is the start up for bathe for 10 LCS’s and I would think that the Texas yard that built #3 will get 10 for a total of 40 of 55 in the mill. The Navy a week ago discussed upping the LCS number from 55 to 70.

What the LCS has going in its favor is that in keeping ship yards open it can be built by nearly every yard and it is the cheapest ship the Navy now has going.

The Navy so far has played the budget game the best and expect to see some of the Navy’s good fortune to come out of the Air Forces hide.

Byron Skinner

There isn’t a conspiracy against you regarding your posting.

Anyway when the Democrats priority here is “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rather than getting new gear you know this is going to turn out poorly for most involved.

Yep the LCS is the ship you build when you have to build something but you cant afford a real ship.

The future of the military is strip out the functions to keep the cost down. Ultimately I think people would be more than happy with platforms that just parade up and down and do absolutely nothing, as long as they can keep their jobs.

That LCS affair is something. The Nay can’t afford all the subs they want, but they can afford to buy two different types of LCS.

(1) While the current House bill looks like both an “Omnibus” bill (that is, it funds more than one department)(there were supposed to be 13 seperate appropriations bills), it also reads like a Continuing Resolution (CR). CR’s limit current spending to last year’s level, and permit no new program starts.

(2) The current House bill has a provision that prohibits spending on any item that was an earmark in the prior year (FY 2010). Since the F-136 engine was an earmark, no spending could be made this year (FY 2011) is the House provision is adopted in the final House/Senate conference.

(3) With funding limited to last year’s level, the “funding realignment” permits the Pentagon to move money around to mimic what the FY 2011 wanted to do, and doesn’t treat that realignment ass a “reprogramming” subject to the specific limitations on such realignments. For example, procurement changes are limited to $20 million per line item (called a “below threshold reprogramming” or BTR). Changes above that require a prior approval “above threshold reprogramming” or ATR — a “mother may I”) from the Congress. The “rebaselining” reset the startign point from which the reprogramming threshold is calculated.

..Except for the fact that the LCSes are of dubious survivability, and their module program is a mess.

Will they just let this engine die already. Do corporations really own this country? Do they even care about the health of this country or is the bottom line the al mighty now? I mean we have a working engine already, GE’s argument is not only tired, but it shows lack of selflessness. What happened to what was best for the country?

Good Morning Folks,

Just to change the subject, as I’m prone to doing when bored by the same old same old, here is one that you military history heads might relate to. Hint, enough with the F136, no body cares, expect for GE and RR of course.

LiMA (Light Mobility Attack) is coming back. It was announced just a few minutes ago that Dual Use Base Dix/McGuire will be the first LiMA Base with other to follow as soon as congress firms up the budget and the Environmental paper work is done. This is not high tech stuff, low tech and low budget but it most certainly will get the USAF back into war fighting. AF Chief General Norton Schwartz is finally getting the AF into the wars.

This is a rather interesting turn of events for the USAF I would think.


Byron Skinner

F136 was not an earmark it was voted on by the house as part of the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill and the Senate accepted the House version in conference, the bill out of conference was then approved by both the House and Senate. The F136 has never been an earmark.

Without a full testing of the LCS and its “modules”, there should be no large procurement. Maybe one additional boat for each contractor, but nothing more. And to put pressure on them to perform (something no shipbuilder has ever done), there should be no options to those new contracts. That will emphasize the seriousness of the government for them to provide a quality product.

What is best for the country? Buying over $50B on hundreds of low-rate initial production (LRIP) mistake jets?

“What’s best for the Country?” How about not scuttling the $2.9B spent already on the F136 when projections show $20B in savings over the life of the program? If this was at the beginning of the program, sure I would agree. There are now working F136 engines running and accumulating time ahead of schedule and exceeding spec requirements.

I keep hearing from F136 advocates that the engine is on schedule. I really don’t think ge & rr are racking up test hours! We are hearing wishful thinking. I thought the F136 was supposed to be flight testing in a CTOL jet by now. But wait!?!?!!! Has the program recorded the first STOVL AMT mission. I don’t think so! Meanwhile the F135 keeps powering FFR Flight Test. The F135 is ISR ready today. GE is getting plenty of my tax dollars already. I’d like to pass on F136.

The fact is the engines are not up to snuff. The last 2 did not make it past a couple of days.


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