Congress, once again, flips the bird to the Pentagon over plans to cut wasteful spending

By John Keller

Posted by John Keller

I just want to scream.

Our nation is drowning in debt, the dollar is weakening as a result, we watch as the costs of everything -- driven by skyrocketing costs of gasoline and diesel fuel (which are going up because of the weakening dollar) spirals out of control ... yet we have a Congress that insists on flipping the bird at the Pentagon's efforts to keep defense spending under some semblance of control.

The latest case in point: a plan to second-source the engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to General Electric. The Pentagon doesn't want two companies building engines for the F-35. Those in the Pentagon believe Pratt & Whitney can take care of F-35 engine production. Congress, however, has other plans.

Now don't get me wrong, I got nothing against GE, but isn't one engine supplier enough for an expensive jet fighter-bomber that ultimately we're not going to buy many copies of anyway? Just one supplier buying that engine will be expensive enough. It's big, powerful, expensive, and stealthy. But must we tool-up two companies to build the engine, increase the overhead costs of producing it exponentially, and make two companies split the profits? Does that make sense? Must we?


Evidently Congress thinks so, even if the Pentagon doesn't. That's the U.S. Congress, our elected representatives, the guys and gals who are supposed to be looking out for us, the taxpayers. The House voted this past week to allow GE to be a second source for the F-35 engine ... even though the Pentagon doesn't want to because it's too expensive.

Let's think about this a second. the Pentagon ... the PENTAGON ... has never set a stellar example of saving money. I'm thinking hundred-dollar hammers, million-dollar toilet seats, thousand-dollar coffee pots -- you know the stories.

Yet the U.S. House of Representatives has clearly demonstrated itself to be even less concerned with cutting spending than the Pentagon. Is that even possible? 'Scuze me while I catch my breath.

Moreover, this is the House. You know, the one where just a few months ago the Republicans took over as the majority. The REPUBLICANS. You know, the guys (and gals) who campaigned on getting the nation's house under financial control, the party of fiscal restraint, blah, blah, blah.

So let's see, we're still drowning in debt. The Administration doesn't seem to care. The House doesn't seem to care. The only ones that seem to care are those in the Pentagon. The PENTAGON!

God, it's even worse than I thought.

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The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

June 2015
Volume 26, Issue 6

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