The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet was just grounded a week ago after a runway fire. The cost of this plane is growing….now to about $112 million each. The Pentagon expects to spend a lot of money on them — about $400 billion. $400 billion is a lot of money!!
If the F-35 is so expensive, and has so many problems, why are we doing this? Why would anyone continue to fund it? Especially since our current fighter planes do such a great job and we don’t have dogfights in the air anymore. I am all for protection and national security, but is this prudent? No one can compete with us in the air.
If this is a great idea, I am all for it — but if the F-35 has so many problems, and so incredibly costly, is this smart and a good idea for the nation? And should not any ‘extra’ money we have ($400 billion?) be used to help our vets?
The answer to why Congress may be pushing a bad project (the dirty little secret) lies below:
“An upfront question with any program now is: How many congressional districts is it in?” said Thomas Christie, a former senior Pentagon acquisitions official.
In the case of the F-35, the short answer is: a lot. Counting all of its suppliers and subcontractors, parts of the program are spread out across at least 45 states. That’s why there’s no doubt lawmakers will continue to fund the program even though this is the third time in 17 months that the entire fleet has been grounded due to engine problems. In fact, in the version of the defense appropriations bill passed by the House, lawmakers agreed to purchase 38 planes in 2015, four more than the Pentagon requested.
We need Congress to be smart about our money, and careful about it — not spending it to get themselves re-elected in their districts. Leaders make the right decisions — not selfish ones.