Skip to comments.McCain: F-35 among the ‘Great, National Scandals’
Posted on 09/24/2013 10:33:14 AM PDT by ClaytonP
Days after the U.S. Defense Department signaled an improving relationship with Lockheed Martin Corp. over the cost of the F-35 fighter jet, Sen. John McCain called the program one of the great national scandals.
McCain, a Republican from Arizona and the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, was speaking during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to consider the nominations of several White House appointments, including Deborah Lee James to become the next secretary of the Air Force.
McCain criticized the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as the governments first trillion-dollar acquisition program (including sustainment costs). Its repeated cost overruns have made it worse than a disgrace, he said. Despite recent efforts to reduce prices on the next batch of aircraft, its still one of the great, national scandals that we have ever had, as far as the expenditure of taxpayers dollars are concerned, he said.
McCain, who also noted that the Navys new USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier is more than $2 billion over budget, was responding to James comment that the current budget environment is chaotic and makes planning difficult.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, who oversees the F-35 program, this week said the relationship between the service and Lockheed the planes manufacturer and the worlds biggest defense contractor along with engine-maker Pratt & Whitney, part of United Technologies Corp., is orders of magnitude better than it was a year ago.
Im encouraged by where we are today, he said Sept. 17 at the Air Force Associations Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition at National Harbor, Md. Id like to be a little further along.
The comments were a stark contrast to those Bogdan made at the same forum last year, when he called the relationship the worst Ive ever seen. This year, Bogdan indicated his previous remarks were deliberate. I threw a hand grenade into the crowd that was intended, he said.
At the hearing, McCain also pressed James on the issue of sexual assaults in the military. The Air Force, in particular, has faced criticism over a spate of high-profile sexual assault scandals.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, the chief of the Air Forces sexual assault prevention and response branch, was arrested and charged with sexual battery in May after allegedly groping a woman outside a strip club near the Pentagon. A month earlier, Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, commander of the 3rd Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, ignited a firestorm when he overturned the conviction of Lt. Col. James Wilkerson III, a fellow fighter pilot who was accused of fondling the victim as she slept in his guest bedroom.
Can this committee have confidence that this is one of your highest priorities and that you can come to this committee and present to all of us a plan and a policy that will put this issue on a sharp decline and lead to a renewed confidence in the American people that young women who join the United States Air Force will have confidence that they will not be subject to a sexual assault? McCain asked.
This will be one of my top priorities, James replied. I intended to work on it very, very hard and I absolutely welcome the opportunity to do that.
Got any ideas? McCain interrupted.
One I put forth is to hold commanders more accountable, to include in their performance assessments a measure of the climate within their unit and how well theyre doing, she replied. Being a commander its not an entitlement, its an honor and a privilege, and if theyre not living up to the measure, they need to go.
James most recently worked as an executive at the defense contractor SAIC Inc. and also served as a former assistant secretary of defense.
Bengazi, NSA, IRS, fast and furious, attacking Libya in defiance of the war powers act, supporting the Brotherhood in Egypt, Putin making Obama his bitch over Syria... and McCain thinks cost overruns on a fighter program is a scandal.
Apparently none of the contractors who build the F-35 are among the contributors to the Re-elect McCain for Senate campaign.
Deborah Lee James to become the next secretary of the Air Force.
Do we have a secretary of the Marine Corps?
Too many damn secretaries is the problem.
Yes, it is McCain in action. He states and “F-35 represents another major cost-overrun program....”.
I wonder why McCain is not standing up and attacking the White House for the MAJOR COST OVERRUN that its ideology and spending represent??
Hypocrisy anyone?? ala Washington style?
At $200 million per copy, that’s a lot of stealth.
No, there is no Secretary of the Marine Corps. The highest position is Commandant of the Marine Corps, but it is subordinate to the Secretary of the Navy (itself sub-cabinet and subordinate to Defense Secretary).
Guess he didnt get his cut....
I still think it should be called the WAR department.
He's just mad that they won't let him crash one.
So why did McLame push to cancel the F22 program then? Or should we go back to the F4?
Still, not stealthy enough to hide the true cost of stealthiness.
McCain, never that great an aviator (an enemy ace for crashing 5 aircraft) to begin with, is officially 40 years behind the power curve in fighter tactics and procurement.
Is this a McCain run ploy to divert attention from Obama’s real scandals?
The question is - why do government projects ALWAYS have massive (sometimes exponential” cost overruns? In the “civilian world”, estimates, then contracts, are considered pretty much set in stone.
Yet somehow government contracts always have holes and loops where extra spending can and nearly always does come in.
I don’t want our pilots flying a cobbled-together shortcut. On the other hand, there is no good reason for these aircraft to cost so much beyond what they were suppose to cost. Even with changes made by the AF, the cost overruns are insane.