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  • Rep. Buck McKeon Applauds Companies for Funding Joint Strike Fighter Engine

    In the opening address of Heritage’s Protect America Month, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) praised the two companies for putting their own money on the line and embracing free-market principles.

    Even without additional funding from the Pentagon, GE and Rolls-Royce will continue to develop an alternative Joint Strike Fighter engine, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee announced in a speech at The Heritage Foundation this week.

    “Instead of lobbying for the final 20 percent needed to finish the engine, the GE team has committed to funding the engine for Fiscal Year 2012 on their own dime,” McKeon said. “They believe in their engine and they believe in competition. Thanks to their willingness to compromise, we’ll break up a monopoly and potentially harvest billions in savings, while fielding a more capable, more robust fighter jet — all at zero cost to the taxpayer.”

    Last month, the Pentagon withdrew funding for the engine, calling it an unnecessary “extra” — a view McKeon said he strongly opposes. Originally, the Pentagon planned to sponsor a competition between the two companies to create the engine. Whichever company was more effective would earn a contract with the Department of Defense to produce the engines for the military. But in the end, the Pentagon cut funding to GE and Rolls-Royce and handed the contract to Pratt & Whitney.

    “I’m curious how protecting a monopoly for a program that will span decades and cost $400 billion is in the best interest of the taxpayer,” McKeon said.

    According to McKeon, the decision to cut funding to GE and Rolls-Royce was symptomatic of President Obama’s defense-budget-cutting style. As the president seeks $400 billion in cuts, he’s being “driven by financial needs, not defense needs,” McKeon said.

    Military missions have expanded greatly since World War II and now encompass a wide range of responsibilities outside of waging wars — including guarding the seas, protecting computers from hackers and viruses, providing humanitarian aid across the globe, protecting United States assets in space and deterring aggression from rising powers. But funding has not necessarily kept pace.

    “If the president expands the military missions, he must expand funding, as well,” McKeon said. “Our military is expected to faithfully discharge a number of new demanding duties. … To ask them to accomplish these tasks with antiquated equipment left over from the Cold War while separated from their families every year is simply disgraceful.”

    Some of the cuts the president has proposed will actually cost more money. For example, the Department of Defense has plans to temporarily halt the production lines of the Bradley fighting vehicle and the Abrams tank — but shutting down production only to restart it at a later date costs more than just maintaining it.

    “This is a no-brainer,” McKeon said. “With ground forces heavily deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and the threat of IEDs very real, increasing costs to decrease our fleet of armored vehicles is foolishness.”

    McKeon agrees the Pentagon should cut internal waste — but he has a very specific idea for the reinvestment of those savings.

    “[They] must go back to defense,” he said. “Not to health care. Not to Social Security. Not cowboy poetry. And not to any pet project the Obama administration deems a higher priority than our security.”

    One of McKeon’s own priorities is modernization: “Ten years of war have chewed up a lot of equipment. We need a reset.”

    Matthew McKillip is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Rep. Buck McKeon Applauds Companies for Funding Joint Strike Fighter Engine

    1. Recce1, Omaha NE USS says:

      As I understand it, both the Air Force and the Navy didn't want the GE engine. So why would Obama cut or reduce many other areas of defense such as the F-22, C-17, Future Combat Vehicles,Littoral ships, Missile defense, carriers, and overall Navy ship building but keep the GE engine program going? Why would the Obama administration prohibit a company such as Boeing moving to a lower cost area in the US?

      In any event, the GE engine issue isn't one of private entrepreneurship but of national defense needs. We can't afford welfare for corporations. Haven't the bailouts shown us that?

      So could the GE issue be set afoot by Obama's relationship with Immelt? Could the Boeing issue be instigated by Obama's support of unions? If one gathers that I'm insinuating something's amiss, they'd be correct.

      Are Obama's moves meant to emasculate the USSA (no typo) or is it part of the Chicago/Mob mindset? But then to insinuate such corruption of Obama would be racist or unpatriotic, right?

      Nevertheless, we need to make serious cuts to the national deficit. The DOD must be part of the cost cutting. Perhaps we should tell Europe and Japan they no longer need most of our bases and troops stationed there or foreign aid unless there's a disaster, such as the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan. Furthermore, there are many superfluous bases in the US that politicians won't allow to be cut.

      But I suspect I'm blowing in the wind.

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    3. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      GE is the very model, where Progressives are trying to push Boeing! Most of General Electric Jobs are actually Over Seas! So, we see the American Military Industrial Complex going off shore one corporation at a time. GE has become that captive darling of the Left who escapes taxation on one hand, but still is ready to self sacrifice at the Anti Big Business alter (when the time comes, soon.) I actually like the idea of the United States Military having the fastest jets, and the new engine might throw the balance of power in our favor (so I didn't like that particular Budget Cut).

      These days the Obama Administration has accumulated sufficient Unconstitutional Power so as to Nationalize any Industrial Giant it chooses! New Legislation gives the Administration to Fine, Obstruct and Penalize anybody they want! So, it is apparant GE got in line! So GE is fine (for now) but look out, Boeing! The Naz is coming after you! (That's a joke on Obama's christ like image.) I wonder if Rep. Buck McKeon will get GE to build the engines at home?

      The way this Administration works, the Engine will be built in Venezuela! Like the way Obama sent our Oil Rigs to Brazil!

    4. Bill Hellmich, West says:

      I am sick and tired of Politicians that think this is good for the country. I wonder how much money GE has contributed to not only McKeon but also John Boehner, Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman, Steve Chabbot and Jean Schmidt (all but McKeon are Ohio Politicians) with a so called vested interest in the engine staying here. Boehner and Schmidt have GE employee's in there districts. Chabbot has the GE Aircraft Engine Headquarters in his district. When this all came to a head GE said it would lay off 1000 employees if they lost the bid. They did and rather than laying off anyone 800 were transfered to other projects within the company and 200 are hanging.

      Obama hates business and oil unless they do what he wants like Immelt does. Boeing is already building major parts overseas and with all these problems don't be surprised if they move more overseas.

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