Statement By Senator John McCain on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program
(Source: Senator John McCain; issued Jan 10, 2017)
WASHINGTON, D.C. ­-– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement today regarding the Department of Defense’s acknowledgment of another schedule delay and cost overrun for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program. Senator McCain also sent a letter to the CEO of Lockheed Martin regarding plans to reduce the cost of the F-35 program:

“According to a company press release, the CEO of Lockheed Martin gave President-elect Trump her personal commitment to aggressively drive down the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in light of concerns he raised about the program.

“These comments were surprising given that I have been recently informed the F-35’s system development and demonstration phase has been delayed another seven months, another costly stumble that will cost the American taxpayer at least $500 million. This is yet another troubling sign for a program that has already nearly doubled in cost, taken nearly two decades to field, and has long been the poster child for acquisition malpractice.

“With this latest delay, I am deeply concerned about the Department’s current plan for Follow-On Modernization. If the Department continues to repeat the mistakes of the past, more delays, more cost overruns, and increased retrofit costs will be the inevitable result.

“I am also disappointed the Department chose to downplay the cost of this delay. Given the challenges this program continues to face, it’s likely that the true cost could be more than twice the $500 million projection – draining the Department of critical funding it needs to train, prepare, and equip our military.

“The F-35’s dismal record on cost, schedule, and performance is a predicable consequence of a broken defense acquisition system. That’s why the Senate Armed Services Committee will continue to make it a priority to streamline our acquisition system while exercising rigorous oversight of the F-35 program so that we can finally deliver our warfighters the capabilities they need.

“Finally, if Lockheed Martin believes it is possible to aggressively drive down the cost of the F-35, it is time for the company to reveal its plans to do so to the Congress and to American taxpayers.”

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Senator McCain Letter to Lockheed Martin CEO
(Source: Senator John McCain; issued Jan 10, 2017)
This is the full text of a letter sent by Senator John McCain to Ms Marillyn Hewson, the Chairman, President & CEO of the Lockheed Martin Corporation on January 10, 2017:


Ms Marillyn Hewson
Chairman, President & CEO
Lockheed Martin Corporation
6801 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20817


Dear Ms Hewson,

Following your meeting with President-elect Donald Trump on Dec ember 21, 2016, you stated in a press release, “I’ve heard his message loud and clear about reducing the cost of the F-35….I gave him my personal commitment to drive down costs aggressively,” and, “we’re ready to deliver.”

Yet, the Department of Defense recently notified the committee of a delay of seven months for the completion of the F-35 System Development and Demonstration phase, accompanied by a cost overrun of at least $500 million. I am having difficulty reconciling this apparent disconnect with regard to driving down F-35 program costs.

If Lockheed Martin Corporation has new initiatives that are “ready to deliver” to reduce F-35 program costs, I expect you to detail your plans for accomplishing this objective to the committee as soon as possible. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

John McCain
Chairman


Click here for the PDF version of this letter.

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