House To Gates: We Like F136; Some GOP Oppose

House To Gates: We Like F136; Some GOP Oppose

CORRECTS:  Sponsor of F136 Amendment

The House of Representatives looks set to approve $450 million for the second engine for the Joint Strike Fighter, ready to thumb its collective nose at Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Obama administration and its boldly stated opposition to the program.

While a final vote on HR 1, the omnibus spending bill cobbled together by the House Appropriation Committee, isn’t likely until Thursday the result is likely to be approval. TwoA junior Republican — freshman Mike Pompeo and Rep. Tom Rooney (in his second term) — did introduce an amendment to the bill which would cut the $450 million. Other freshman Republicans — Rep. Robert Dold. and Rep. Tim Griffin, started to gather signatures for a letter to President Obama applauding his opposition to the F136. What do these efforts have in common? They are efforts by newly elected members of the House to influence those who run the House. Should they succeed in stripping the engine funding from the bill it would mark a serious blow to the power of the chairman of the House Appropriation Committee, Rep. Hal Rogers, and, as such, is unlikely to unopposed by the cardinals. It will also be an excellent learning experience for both sides. Not to mention they would be taking on Rep. Bill Young, chair of the defense subcommittee…


The bill may pass the House but the Senate may well be another story. As the House readied to work its way through amendments, Sen. Daniel Inouye, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued a sharp note of disapproval.

“The impact of H.R. 1 on the ability of the federal government to perform even some of its most basic functions is, in many instances, severe.  The Constitution requires of the government that it ‘…establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…’.  The House Republican proposal would undermine our ability to live up to these ideals, and do little to address the long-term fiscal challenges facing our nation.

“There is no doubt that we must find a way to reduce our deficit and put America back on the path to a balanced budget.  Part of the solution will be to eliminate programs that are no longer necessary, and to improve the efficiency of those that are.  But many of the reductions proposed by the House were made not because programs were ineffective or wasteful, but out of desire to meet an arbitrary dollar figure cited during a political campaign.  Many of the recommendations in this bill resulted from a ‘meat cleaver’ approach to budget cuts, when we should be using a scalpel – responsibly identifying specific programs that are wasteful or unneeded.”

So the House bill may be dead on arrival in the Senate. But the chances of the F136 surviving for another year are better than they might have seemed yesterday with the senior appropriators and leadership of the House clearly comfortable with spending money on the second engine.

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If everyone is really serious about reducing the deficit, then they should fund the F136. Its the only program to date that has truely had an impact on reducing F135 costs. Its quit obvious the F136’s mere existance is having an effect on P&W’s cost for F135 LRIP engines. If anyone thinks P&W would have reduced the F135 costs out of the goodness of their hearts.…then we really do have a bunch leaders with no clue. Today, the F136 is on budget and on time and you can thank the F136 for reducing LRIP IV costs for the F135. Most importantly, you can thank the F136 in the future when it saves the USG nearly 20B over the F35’s life cycle and it increases the F35’s safety, reliability, and maintainability. Mr Gates, I urge you to talk to those in the JPO on the ground working the F35 Program and I urge you to call your Military Generals and Admirals behind closed doors to discuss the F136 and let them be frank and not fear reprisals and I guarantee you will receive a majority recommendation to keep the F136 funded. I’ve worked several Defense Programs and the F136 is clearly a Program that should be the template for future DoD programs to follow.

The military socialists will have you believe that saving 2 billion to let P&W spend the next 40 years charging whatever it wants as a monopoly supplier is a good idea.

Meanwhile the contractors are pushing for a raft of new mergers amongst 3rd tier suppliers to further reduce competition. The contractors know that they will face incredible pressure as Americans push to reduce the defense budget 2 to 1. Using Americas security as a bargaining chip to force the US economy to fund them regardless of the citizens real needs is the objective.

What is missing here is a serious debate about the need for the F135 or F136 as the already outdated F-35 may not be needed after all if we restarted production of an upgraded F-22 to meet the air dominance requirements against the J-20 and PAK T-50 and combine it with stealthy UCAVs a la X-47 which would be more survivable than the F-35. This also would save money, lots of it.
Where are the Republican Hawks? Restarting production of the F-22 is a must. A more lethal USAF on a tighter budget seems feasible. How can it be that the LRIP4 production price of the F-35 now stands at close to 250 million. Insanity!

The F-136 funding is a red herring issue. The real issue is the entire F(ubar)-35 cost overrun. The $1.8B needed for F136 is in the noise compare to the cost growth of the entire program which is now approaching $200B for the entire acquisition (around $30B just for SDD).
NOW is the time to cancel the F(ubar)-35B instead of throwing another $4.6B down the toilet. Maybe the Navy should pull out of the program all together. It might be cheaper to resurect the A-12 program from the ashes than to keep funding this F(ubar)-35 funding black hole.

The problem is that to break even, with amount of money spent on the F136 and the quantity of planes being built for the Government the F135 needs end up with a cost $4M less than it initially started with. In reality its cost has only come down by a bout $1.5M, meaning we have buy 2.5 engines for every plane, or that many more planes, to use the savings to justify the extra R&D. So as it stands we have spent $3 Billion to save $1.5 Billion.

This also raises a question about longterm health of the industry. That $1.5 Billion “saved” would have been someone’s profits and at a time where the Government wants companies to put more into independent R&D, they need those types of profits to have extra cash to make those investments.

Text excerpt from the article above: “While a final vote on HR 1, the omnibus spending bill cobbled together by the House Appropriation Committee, isn’t likely until Thursday…”

Sometimes the general Press is faster than the specialized Press…:

“Obama victory as house kills pricey jet fighter

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama won a showdown vote Wednesday in the GOP-controlled House to kill a costly alternative engine for the Pentagon’s next-generation fighter jet.”

Etc., in:
http://​news​.yahoo​.com/​s​/​a​p​/​2​0​1​1​0​2​1​6​/​a​p​_​o​n​_​r​e​_​u​s/u

And I’m not even minimally interested in this whole topic. I just came home from work right now and discovered this article by sheer accident, literally on my way to “D.o.D. Buzz” (I haven’t bookmarked “D.o.D. Buzz” yet as a “Favourite/s” link. Far too much censorship…).

Here in France we have news agencies.

Both the F22 and A12 were killed because they were expensive mismanaged disasters. They only look good in comparison to the F35.

The F-22A is not a “disaster.” Of course you would have us still flying F-4 Phantom IIs with 1960s avionics if you could.

Oblatski you would whine about the F136 being “contractor welfare” if funding wasn’t cut. All you want it take take all of the tax dollars that go to defense and put them in your pocket.

you bring up a good point about cost benefit analysis. any estimates of costs or benefits in the future is inherently uncertain, and it is more uncertain the farther in the future you have to project, i.e. cone of uncertainty. one of the greatest sins in cost benefit analysis is to conclude that one investment course of action is better than an alternative because it has a greater Net Present Value. However since NPV is uncertain, and more uncertain in the future, it is really much less conclusive that a particular alternative is superior to an alternative. Good investment decision making should drive us to make investments that pay off earlier (i.e. shorter payback period and earlier breakeven points) vs. NPV or ROI. When people understand this, then they can grasp my other views on MDAP acquisition approach: we need low technologically risky solutions based upon improving established successful programs and patterns of success. high risk technology development has no place in MDAPs. the problem with implementing this approach however is the thorough corruption of the Congressional Military Industrial Complex. when corrupt power politics comes into play, sanity and rational decision making is not possible. currently, US strategic decision making boils down to power politics. We really are not that far advanced beyond tribal politics.

The US spends 7 times as much on “defense” (mostly corporate welfare) as the next biggest spender (China). We should cut 85% of the military budget and invest it on things that really matter, like education, infrastructure, clean energy, etc.

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