BOOM! SECDEF Mattis’ First Big Move Raises Eyebrows in DC–51GH.,B37
Retired General James Mattis, the new Secretary of Defense has already started the ball rolling for his boss, President Donald Trump. He has ordered his deputy director to start a review of the F-35 program and costs.
Mattis’s Friday memorandum directed the deputy secretary of defense to conduct a review of the F-35 program in order to determine if there are any opportunities to reduce cost. Additionally, the deputy secretary will engage in a parallel assessment comparing the F-35C and the F/A-18E/F capabilities in order to determine if the F/A-18E/F can be improved to provide a “competitive, cost effective, fighter aircraft alternative.” Mattis ordered the review to be conducted immediately so that its results can be used to make future budget decisions. Mattis also issued a separate memo which will review costs associated with a program to revamp presidential aircraft.
A Pentagon statement attempted to allay any concerns as to confidence in the fighter program.
“The purpose of these reviews is to inform programmatic and budgetary decisions, recognizing the critical importance of each of these acquisition programs,” said the statement. “This is a prudent step to incorporate additional information into the budget preparation process and to inform the secretary’s recommendations to the president regarding critical ….
The F-35 program is as controversial as it is expensive. Defense hawks see it as a necessary evolution in U.S. military air power, while critics decry the program’s astronomical cost. The first lot of F-35s cost approximately $279 million a piece, though the cost per unit lowered to $102 million in the most recent order placed Nov. 2, 2016. By comparison, an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet had a unit cost of $70.5 million in 2013.
President Donald Trump criticized Lockheed-Martin’s pricey F-35 last month, suggesting in a series of tweets that he is interested in asking Boeing to “price-out” a comparable Super Hornet.
source–the daily caller, russ read,