Today, the White House reaffirmed the President’s position, issuing a Statement of Administration Policy on the House Defense Authorization bill that strongly objects to current efforts in Congress to again provide funding for the alternate engine.
Referring to the House Armed Services Committee’s actions last week, the statement says:
The Administration strongly objects to the addition of $603 million for development and procurement of the alternative engine program, and the requirement for the Department to fund the alternative engine program in future budget requests to the President.As we blogged about here earlier, funding for the alternate engine means buying fewer airplanes at a higher cost, something the Administration notes in its message as well:
These changes will delay the fielding of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) capability and capacity, adversely impacting the Department's overall strike fighter inventory. In addition, the Administration objects to provisions of the bill that mandate an alternative engine program for the JSF.The Administration further notes that:
The current engine is performing well with more than 11,000 test hours. Expenditures on a second engine are unnecessary and impede the progress of the overall JSF program. Alleged risks of a fleet-wide grounding due to a single engine are exaggerated. The Air Force currently has several fleets that operate on a single-engine source.The Administration statement concludes that if the House legislation disrupts the F-35 program, the President’s advisers will recommend a veto.