Today the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) sent a letter to Senate leadership to express serious concerns about the integrity of the Pentagon procurement process.
The last minute request by Air National Guard Director Lieutenant General Harry M. Wyatt III to add seven unneeded F-22s to the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 appears to have been inspired by efforts of Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) to override the recommendations of Defense Secretary Gates and Air Force leadership to end production of the F-22 program—made in Marietta, Georgia—at 187 aircraft.
The Director’s request flies directly in the face of the overarching strategic needs expressed by the Secretary of Defense and repeated by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as recently as this morning. In addition, numerous congressional hearings and press reports have demonstrated that Air Force leadership supports the decision to end F-22 production.
Beyond pointing out the appalling nature of this solicitation from the Air National Guard leadership, POGO also raised concerns about the “Additional Views of Senator Chambliss” section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which encouraged the Department of Defense to position F-22s in Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Louisiana, Florida, Alaska, and Hawaii. “It appears that the specificity of this request may have been a politically motivated decision to garner support from the Senators and Governors of these states,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian.
Both the Secretary of Defense and Air Force leadership have made it clear that continued procurement of the F-22 does not support our national security strategic needs. POGO supports their view that national security spending should be based upon strategic needs rather than parochial interests. To sell our national security as part of a horse-trade calls the integrity of Congress’s procurement process into question.