Policy Letter

Bipartisan Coalition Demand Bomber Program Cost Transparency

June 22, 2017

The Honorable John McCain

Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee

United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20150

Dear Mr. Chairman:

We urge you to include in the Fiscal Year 2018 NDAA Chairman’s mark a provision requiring the Air Force to be more forthcoming with the total cost of the B-21 long-range strategic bomber program.

We commend your effort last year to force the Air Force to release the full contract value of the B-21 and urge you to try again.

We do not accept the Air Force refusal to provide the full cost of research, production and maintenance of the new B-21 long-range strategic bomber. The public deserves to know the full cost of the program before spending so many billions of dollars. The only reason to conceal the full contract value is to make it more difficult to track the inevitable cost overruns in this major Air Force acquisition.

There is a terrible precedent from one of the B-21’s predecessor bombers, the B-2, which due in part to spiraling costs was cut from a proposed 132 aircraft to 21 and wound up costing $2.2 billion each.

The Air Force argument that our adversaries would have an advantage if the cost is released in specious. As you have said, “The Air Force has already told our enemies what each plane costs, what it looks like and who is making its most important components. All of this would seem to be more useful information for a foreign intelligence agency than the overall contract value.”

We will work to persuade other committee members to support your provision if you include it again.


Arms Control Association

Campaign for Liberty

Coalition to Reduce Spending

Council for a Livable World

Defense Priorities

Downsize DC


Friends Committee on National Legislation

Iraq Veterans Against the War

London Center

National Taxpayers Union

Peace Action

Project On Government Oversight

Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Institute Justice Team

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Union of Concerned Scientists

United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society

Win Without War

Women’s Action for New Directions