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Analysis

America’s New Stealth Bomber has a Stealthy Price Tag

Revealing how much the Air Force’s B-21 is costing won’t help America’s enemies — but will make oversight possible.
(Photo: USAF)

The B-21 Raider — the U.S. Air Force’s next nuclear-capable bomber — is being designed to evade enemy air defenses for decades to come. But there’s one thing the program is evading right now: the scrutiny of the American taxpayer and many of their elected representatives.

Citing the need to protect national security, the Air Force has kept secret the value of its 2015 contract award to Northrop Grumman Corp. to continue developing the bomber as well as the estimated total program acquisition and sustainment costs.

As lawmakers in the House and Senate continue to write and debate the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act this week, they should support efforts to force the public disclosure of the contract and other program cost data.

Doing so won’t give U.S. adversaries a leg up. Fear of a “sticker shock” backlash or embarrassing cost overruns are not legitimate reasons to keep taxpayers in the dark about the price tag of one of the Pentagon’s largest and most important programs.

Read the full article, co-authored with Kingston Reif, on Defense One.