WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--It’s baaaaack! Proving once again that no program every truly draws its last breath in Washington, the Senate Appropriations Committee today approved by voice vote H.R. 4870, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2015, which includes report language calling for the “reassessment” of the wasteful Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) alternate engine program.
The provision, which was not contained in the House version of H.R. 4870, states that the 2011 decision “to kill an F-35 alternate engine made by General Electric and Rolls-Royce” should be re-examined “in light of troubles with the current F135 engine made by United Technologies subsidiary Pratt & Whitney.” The Committee report notes “numerous problems” with the F135 engine, including a pre-takeoff fire that occurred several weeks ago as the basis for the potential reigniting of the alternate engine program.
Several years after it was first exposed as an earmark in 1998, CCAGW led the opposition to the alternate engine; Congress provided a total of $1.3 billion in pork for the program through fiscal year (FY) 2010. Beginning in FY 2007, the alternate engine was repeatedly designated as wasteful and unnecessary by both the Bush and Obama administrations as well as top military brass. In January 2011, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates remarked that “every dollar spent on excess overhead or unneeded programs – such as the extra engine for the JSF – is a dollar not available to support our troops and prepare for threats on the horizon.” In February 2011, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen told the House Armed Services Committee, “I mean, I’ve been doing money a long time. I cannot make sense out of this second engine. It is two to three years behind. It’s not going to compete, quite frankly.” The Senate agreed with this assessment and voted twice to eliminate funding for the alternate engine before the House finally agreed to do so in 2011.
“Pulling the plug on the alternate engine program was a major victory for taxpayers,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz. “It is unfortunate that the Senate is attempting to bring back a wasteful multi-billion program due to a few glitches in the F135 program. No work has been performed on the alternate engine for the three years, and it was already behind schedule and over budget when it was terminated. Even worse, any money that is spent on the alternate engine will have to be taken from another defense program. While the defense budget has more than its fair share of wasteful spending, it would be an outrage to resurrect a “zombie” program that unbeknownst to taxpayers has been wandering around for years; no one should even be thinking about bringing it back to life.”
CCAGW is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.