Airing Differences

Today, the Administration sent a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010.  It emphasizes the President’s commitment to spend taxpayer dollars on what is needed to keep our country safe and secure — and not on programs that are unnecessary or ineffective.  To that end, the President made clear that he would veto any bill that supports acquiring more F-22 fighter aircraft beyond the 187 already funded by Congress.
As part of their review of the defense budget, Secretary of Defense Gates and the military leadership put forward a series of recommendations on how to configure our fighting forces and strengthen our national security (these recommendations were part of the Terminations, Reductions, and Savings volume we released with the full FY 2010 Budget in May).  One of their key recommendations was that we did not need any more F-22s than have already been funded.  Indeed, as early as December 2004, the Pentagon determined that we did not need any more F-22s.  In the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon again concluded that the number of F-22s already procured was adequate.  And both the GAO and CBO have questioned the affordability of continuing this program.
In today’s SAP, the Administration also strongly objects to the addition of $438.9 million for development of the alternative engine program for the Joint Strike Fighter.  As President Obama put it: "the Defense Department is already pleased with the engine it has.  The engine it has works.  The Pentagon does not want and does not plan to use the alternative version.  That's why the Pentagon stopped requesting this funding two years ago.  Yet it's still being funded."  We should not be procuring weapons systems for which we do not have a military need.
For too long, we’ve pursued costly weapons systems that were not suited for the types of threats we face or have proven not to be effective and efficient – wasting hundreds of billions of dollars.  That is why the President made his thoughts on the F-22 and JSF funding clear to Congress today, and will work with leaders on the Hill as well as with Secretary Gates and the military leadership to reform Pentagon contracting and keep our Nation safe and secure.

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