Wed, Feb 16, 2011
Hopes More Conservative Climate Will Turn Tide In His
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is turning to an increasingly
conservative majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in an
effort to strip funding for the F136 engine out of the defense
Gates has said repeatedly that he does not think the engine is
necessary, and points to the program as a poster child for wasteful
government spending. The engine is being developed jointly by Rolls
Royce PLC and GE at a facility in Ohio.
While Gates has stripped funding for the alternate engine for
the F-135 Joint Strike Fighter every year for the last several
years, Congress continues to fund the program over the objections
of the Defense Department and the President. With the House
scheduled to begin debate on the defense budget this week, Gates
said he hopes the members will finally see things his way. The Wall
Street Journal reports that, should that not be the case, he will
"look at all legal options to close down this program."
GE F136 Ohio Test Facility
GE responded to the secretary by e-mailing a statement in which
company spokesperson Rick Kennedy said the debate on the floor of
the house needs to be about "whether to hand a $100 billion
monopoly (to) a single engine supplier."
There has been $3 billion already spend on the F136 alternate
engine. Georgia Republican Lynn Westmorland called that spending
"unnecessary," and said there are estimates that show it will cost
an additional $3 billion to make the engine operational. GE
spokesman Kennedy said that number was closer to $1.8 billion.
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