McKeon Hits Back at Critics of Defense Bill

McKeon Hits Back at Critics of Defense Bill

The retiring chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is hitting back at critics who blasted his final defense bill as prioritizing pork over readiness.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted 325–98 to pass its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, which would spare cuts to military weapons systems and personnel benefits next year despite a veto threat from the White House and major areas of disagreement in the Senate.

The bill would bar the Pentagon from retiring the Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt II gunships, U-2 Dragon Lady spy planes and KC-10 Extender refueling tankers. It would also block the department from putting into storage some of the Navy’s cruisers and amphibious assault ships. What’s more, it would add money for weapons the military didn’t ask for, such as M1 Abrams tanks and EA-18 Growler electronic attack jets.


After the chamber’s vote, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon responded to critics who, he said, characterized the legislation as a sop to parochial interests.

“That is a lazy dismissal of a long, arduous process that still leaves many holes in our defense and few good choices,” he said in a statement. “Thanks to intense efforts by a bipartisan group of members and staff, we were able to successfully do as the law compels — make the tough decisions that put the troops first.”

Outside analysts argue the legislation doesn’t allow the Pentagon’s uniformed and civilian leadership to adequately prepare for a shifting strategic landscape and automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

“The committee’s mark in my judgment puts pork and hardware over readiness,” Gordon Adams, an American University professor who served as a senior defense budget official at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration, said earlier this month.

“It basically says,” he said, “we are going to keep stuffing programs into this budget and hope that it survives. We are going to deal with the pet projects of a lot of members of Congress, so they fully fund hardware accounts.”

Todd Harrison and Bryan Clark, senior fellows at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a think tank in Washington, D.C., made similar points.

“Congress is trying to have it both ways by cutting defense spending and expecting the Defense Department to continue with business as usual,” they wrote in a recent report. “But the savings will have to come from somewhere.”

They continued, “Defense cuts require hard choices, but if the Senate follows the House’s lead, we could end up with a paper tiger military that looks good on the surface but isn’t prepared to respond in a security environment that becomes more uncertain every day.”

The Senate is expected to begin debating its version of the bill later this year, possibly in the fall.

Tags: , , ,

Join the Conversation

Weapons the military didn’t ask for? The US Navy clearly asked for 22 more Growlers with that unfunded priorities list.

This clearly isn’t a good enough deal for the defense contractors. It favors too many operational weapons over the paper variety that somehow never actually seem to manage to get produced. I guess that’s what they call “pork” at the Pentagon.

Agreed the U-2 should be retired; but only after suitably replaced. You can’t call the Global-Turkey a functional replacement based on its numerous failures and lack of capabilities. Just as the retirement of the SR-71 was driven by the supposed lack of need; but has not been replaced.

The entire acquisition system is rotten, starting with congressional interference all the way to the DoD/service branches lousy habits of not only being incapable of coming up with a combined strategy and force structure, but also continuing the practice of imposing design changes on every weapon (or system, ship, etc.) all the way though manufacturing.

The entire system should either be:

1. Extirpated and replaced with a system similar to that used by the Brits, or failing that,
2. Fully fund the DoD on the proviso that they agree to put the entire acquisition system under receivership (that would have to include both HoR’s as well).

The US taxpayer gets the lousiest deal in the western world when it comes to weapons acquisition, and for that matter, the entire world. Its long past the time for the gravy train to come to a crashing halt.

If the Navy gets more Growlers, would it make sense to couple that with accelerated retirement of the Prowlers?

If the critics in congress are worried about “pork” in the DOD budget, they are looking at the wrong items! These POS that represent us add in more pork in the DOD budget than any other departments budget! I wish that one of the groups that follows waste in government spending would get a copy of every penny that is spent in the DOD under the freedom of information act, and see where the real waste is. i.e. John Kerry took 18.5 million dollars out of the DOD budget a few years ago for Ted Kennedy’s memorial (This is a typical example of REAL PORK AT ITS BEST!).

It doesn’t make sense with only 5 additional Growlers being added. If the Navy got the 22 that they asked for or more, then I could see sound reasoning in accelerating the retirement of several Prowlers. The USAF gave up the jamming mission and although the Marine Corps said it was going to keep its Prowlers in service as long as possible I still have yet to hear any plans to integrate the Next Gen Jammer onto them. Either way, the military is set to rely entirely on the Growler for jamming and electronic attack and we will need more of them.

>The entire system should either be:
.….….……

Even though I don’t know how the Brits system works in details, it must include:
–Be built on top of DARPA (way more precious than any business)
–Create some mechanism that maximize competition (i.e. not just 1 fighter jet)
–Stop trying to reinvent the wheel; to favorize re-usability over introducing new paradigm (i.e. AR-15)
–Make sure that what you buy is designed for WAR, not just for a best-case scenario peace keeper dissuasive force. (I hope this is just my imagination)
–Whatever happen, make sure that you remain in control of what you buy, that you’re not stuck with contractor XYZ forever because of some IP issue; companies comes and go or just merge.

Of course congresscritters prioritize pork over readiness. How else would so many become millionaires?

Wait… is the military man or women in this situation being called Pork?… just sayin.

The House of Representatives is only representative of a small slice of America.

–Stop trying to reinvent the wheel; to favorize re-usability over introducing new paradigm (i.e. AR-15)

The AR-15 /did/ re-invent the wheel. Lightweight and more plastics instead of a heavy 7.62mm NATO with wood furniture. It was a new paradigm in its time.

Unless you think we should just be sticking with what works…then we’d still be using 7.62mm NATO rifles.

I’m surprised the proposal hasn’t come up. But if they agreed to retire Prowlers 1:1 for Growlers and the Growlers were clawed back…you can’t un-retire a platform, now can you?

Horsetrading is fun.

I don’t know about the Navy, but the Army has been begging to stop producing M1A1’s. There is a depot in California with 1000 sitting idle, and more being added every day, paid for out of an Army budget that’s being slashed. They don’t want it, but stopping productions would hurt Ohio, so on it goes. What’s funny — or sad — about the whole thing is the legislator who fought for continued assembly of the M1 is also a tea party darling who fought for sequestration. Ass.

Sure, shut down the only tank assembly line we have, that way we can buy our next tank from China. What the hell, we already buy the steel for this one from China.

The British system uses a threat analysis board comprised of civilian and military experts that analyze threats and determines the force structures and weapons required to defeat them. These are translated into budgetary allocations, and are sent to parliament for approval (i.e. funding).

This removes redundancies across the service branches, eliminates design changes throughout the acquisition process, eliminates unobtanium-plated gizmos/weapons systems, special versions for everyone (unless required for some very specific reason), and gives the MoD (let alone British taxpayers) a vastly better deal than what we get in the USA.

The military is not going to rely entirely on the Growler for jamming and electronic attack, the plan is that any AESA equipped fighter will have the capability to perform such missions. There is still a place for dedicated aircraft no question, but to claim that the Growler is the only aircraft that will be doing it is an exaggeration.

Obama is great about retiring stuff like coal, gas, aircraft without a suitable substitute so that there will not be a gap that would cause higher cost and less capability

You missed my point. The AR-15 was a game changer, it gave to every soldier a firepower unseen before. Its aeronautic derived alloy make it light enough to be carried everywhere and was mass-production friendly. Did it relied too much on alloy too much? Maybe, the ak-47 took a more conservative approach and was everything except a disaster. Neither of them tried to reinvent the wheel, neither of them implemented pretended to re-invent the cartridge, they were conservative on that regard; on that regard a gatling gun did not re-invent the wheel with its crazy rate of fire, early machine gun were multi-barrel. It just implemented them wisely.

What I was meaning by not trying to reinvent the wheel is to avoid re-engineer something that is perfectly working just to get something new, a new and costly *artificial* paradigm like car manufacturer are doing so well.

I say let the experimental and fancy stuff to the DARPA and by its smaller volume to the SF. It would be a complete financial disaster to put a random objective to let say, implement organic uniform for every soldier by 2020 because it have some potential and because it represent a challenge to the industry.

All of that money will have a much better impact in pure R&D than getting some private company trying to fulfill a fantasist requirement.

Sure keeping an expertise alive is critical (i.e. tank manufacturing) but that doesn’t make any project a good idea.

Have you read anything on the jamming properties of AESA radar before the techno-whizzes started keeping their stuff secret on the subject? An AESA radar can be turned into an extremely powerful jammer, but it builds up so much heat that it melts the radar modules. There are some other things involved, but the heat build up was the number one problem I remember reading about.

We haven’t built a new Abrams for the US since the early 90s. The only new tanks to come out of the factory have been for foreign allies. The factory in Lima has been doing upgrades and overhauls on the existing fleet ever since. The money offered to keep the factory open is for transmissions and sensor packages. If this storage yard you speak of is adding more tanks, it’s because the Army is shrinking and putting them in storage from inactivated units.

But what if the next tank we need ISN’T the M1? We’re stuck with a growing stockpile of tanks that don’t fit our needs and still have to build a new production line to make the ones that do meet our needs.

We cross that line of departure once the Army figures out the next tank it needs.

We’re stuck with concept tanks that aren’t getting any lighter, sharing many of the weaknesses of the present M1 without adding more strengths.

No point adding to the growing stockpile of tanks until we figure out what else we need. Though a light tank like the M8 AGS would be a place to start.

Wouldn’t be surprised. A preliminary dig turns up:
http://​www​.ausairpower​.net/​A​P​A​-​F​l​a​n​k​e​r​-​R​a​d​a​r​s​.​htm

Which mentions: “These estimates can be further constrained by applying some understanding of basic AESA design principles, and constraints such as the publicly disclosed cooling demand of the AESA antenna section, which dominates the PAO liquid cooling loop load. ”

and

“[3] A major factor is the achievable performance of the HEMT transistors installed in the AESA Transmit Receive modules, ie their X-band power rating in Watts, and their Power Added Efficiency (PAE) in percent, the latter a measure of excess waste heat dissipation in the modules. The high bandwidth and linearity demands imposed on military AESAs generally force the use of A-class amplifier designs, which are profligate consumers of electrical power and thus heat dissipators, regardless of clever power management techniques. The current state of the art in X-band HEMT transistors and MMIC (Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits) sees PAE values ranging from 25% to the the nominal 45% up to almost 70% in pulsed modes, and power ratings from single Watts up to a staggering 80 Watts per transistor reported in an academic journal (Toshiba). No matter how good the transistor might be, the hard limits on average and thus total power will be set by the capacity of the liquid cooling system. ”

An AESA designed for a different duty cycle regime at low power may not be suited for systematic jamming. It may require significant re-engineering (hooray win for radar vendor?!) to build something more heavy duty.

Edit: And http://​www​.sps​-aviation​.com/​s​t​o​r​y​_​i​s​s​u​e​.​a​s​p​?​A​r​tic

“As always, there is a cost attached to high performance. AESA modules dissipate a lot of heat which must be extracted efficiently to maintain reliability of GaAs MMIC chips. High packaging density of the modules precludes the possibility of air-cooling techniques traditionally used in avionic hardware. Thus relatively more elaborate liquid cooling methods involving pumps to drive the coolant through channels in the antenna, heat exchangers, etc have to be adopted. Therefore, in comparison to a conventional aircooled fighter radar, while AESA delivers far greater performance and is much more versatile, it requires more electrical power and more complex cooling systems.”

No specifics about melting chips, but if you’re talking about moving beyond air-cooled into liquid, it suggests that the potential of melting your radar exists.

Just what exactly is he calling pork? PORK to me is the addons that have nothing to do with need or the original bill. It is time these bills be published as a public service announcement so the general population, at least those interested, can see just how so much garbage is added to important bills.

Pop into thomas​.loc​.gov

Bills aren’t state secrets

DONE WRONG LONG ENOUGH BECOME RIGHT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congress finally got one thing right in preventing the A-10 from being retired. Still baffles me that they want to replace it w/ the F-35… now talk about PORK!

Let me just say, you have no idea what your talking about re: Global Hawk and U-2 and leave it at that.

great, just move to Britain and you will be a happy system. All systems are subject to corruption and that will not stop

Or re-elected.

Our system encourages corruption by paying more for sloth and stupidity than it does for industriousness and innovation. Last I checked, the British do the same. Hardly a system I’d try to imitate. If we want to imitate any other system of buying weapons, why don’t we just look to our own history? We were the most powerful nation on earth after WW2 and maintained that status all the way through the Cold War. We must have been doing something right, don’t you think?

Beyond a shadow of doubt: “we are the most powerful nation in the world bar none” regardless of what some of the people in the chain of command do from the commander in chief to the private. The citizens of this country will respond to an attack or threat of attack as we have always done so in our history. There has been people that abscond with various monies etc. from the American revolution on through every part of the military history and that is not going to change without Congress doing something about it, and that is not likely to happen as the corruption of the military is also the corruption of the legislative bodies. The USA will end up with the finest equipment, the lowest bidder can supply, that we need to participate in warfare, always have and always will, so all this squabbling over the contractor should just end as it is not going to change anything. God bless America.

The Congress controls how much money is spent. They do not control how it is spent, for the most part. Certainly the Federal Acquisition Rules (FAR) is a document written and maintained by the Executive branch of government. It is the Executive branch that has screwed us on procurement, not Congress. The President could at any time fix what is wrong with procurement and he does not. None have with the present system since the bureaucrats working for Bill Clinton approved the current “profit on development” rules in the early 1990’s.

Air Force wasn’t big fan of air to ground support missions. A-10 is best in that business, trying have F-35 do those kind of missions is like the F-4 in ‘Nam. Multi-function aircraft aren’t necessary the best at what they do.

*required

NOTE: Comments are limited to 2500 characters and spaces.

By commenting on this topic you agree to the terms and conditions of our User Agreement

AdChoices | Like us on , follow us on and join us on Google+
© 2014 Military Advantage
A Monster Company.