Because of this, Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have made overhaul of defense procurement a priority. An example of their efforts is the debate about engines for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.The military is in the process of replacing its aging fleet of fighters with the F-35s. A Pratt & Whitney engine will power this plane. Despite objections from military officials, an alternate engine is also being developed. There’s no need for this alternate engine and Congress should not put it in the budget, as it has done previously via earmarks.This alternate engine development is a massive $6 billion program that’s unnecessary and wasteful. That’s why Obama cut it from his budget, saying, “They do not want — and do not plan to use — the alternate version. That’s why the Pentagon stopped requesting this funding two years ago. Yet, it’s still being funded.”Resources are limited. American taxpayers work hard for every dollar and the government must be prepared to justify how every dollar is spent.If the alternate engine program continues, it will mean $6 billion thrown away. That means fewer airplanes, fewer training hours for our troops and less medical care for returning veterans.Not only is the cost extraordinary for the unwanted engines, it could make the F-35 less reliable. These complex machines need thousands of spare parts. A second engine would likely double the number of parts, creating greater complexity and additional burdens on ground crews. These increased burdens will come without saving money or improving performance.
Full column is here.