F-35 Joint Strike
Fighter Caucus Members Receive More PAC Money
By Daniel Baxter
December 14, 2011 - According to a joint analysis of
campaign finance data by the Center for Responsive
Politics and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO)
a new report shows House members of the F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter Caucus received more than double in PAC
monies from the primary contractors of the F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter program than House members not on the
Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) and Congressman Norm
Dicks (D-Wash) launched a bipartisan, F-35 Joint Strike
Fighter Caucus back in November to provide Members of
Congress accurate and timely information on the
development, testing, and deployment of our
next-generation fighter. Rep. Kay Granger and Rep. Norm
Dicks co-chair the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus.
Strike Fighter (JSF) is a development and acquisition program
intended to replace a wide range of existing fighter, strike,
and ground attack aircraft for the United States, the United
Kingdom, Canada, and their allies. After a competition between
the Boeing X-32 and the Lockheed Martin X-35, a final design was
chosen based on the X-35. The above picture is the F-35
Lightning II, which will replace various tactical aircraft,
including the US F-16, A-10, F/A-18, AV-8B, and British Harrier
GR7 & GR9s, and the Canadian CF-18.
Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive program in Pentagon
history which has been plagued by delays, cost overruns and
defects. Five issues were found where major consequence issues
have been identified, but root cause, corrective action or fix
effectively are still in development: Helmet Mounted Display
System, Fuel Dump Subsystem, Integrated Power Package, Arresting
Gear System (CV variant) and a classified issue.
issues were found where potentially major consequence discovery
is likely pending outcomes of further discovery: Buffet, Fatigue
Life, and Test Execution. Five issues were found where
consequence or cost is moderate, but the number of moderate
issues poses a cumulative concurrency risk: Software, Weight
Management, Thermal Concerns, Autonomic Logistics Information
System and Lightning Protection. The combined impact of these
issues results in a lack of confidence in the design stability.
In this time of budget cuts, some Members of Congress have suggested curtailing or delaying the Joint Strike Fighter program. Other members suggest that when countries such as Russia and China are testing their next-generation fighters, the Joint Strike Fighter program is an absolute necessity. In furtherance to their augment they suggest that our partners and allies such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Israel must have the strategic and technological advantage and maintaining air superiority will continue to be one of the most effective deterrents against threats from our common enemies such as Iran.
?Like the Joint
Strike Fighter program, the JSF Caucus is about partnerships.
Our membership reflects the broad bipartisan support the F-35 has
in Congress and part of our role is to make sure Members have the very
best information possible so we can all make the best decisions
possible,? said Granger, who is the Chairwoman of the State and Foreign
Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and is a member of the Defense
?The F-35 program
has reached a critical stage in its development as the most advanced
multi-role fighter in the world.
It will be important in the years ahead for this broad coalition
in the House of Representatives to support an efficient production
schedule to assure that America and our international partners bring the
aircraft into service as quickly as possible,? said Rep. Dicks, who
serves as the ranking Democratic member of the House Appropriations
Committee. So far 48 House members of congress have joined the
Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Pratt & Whitney are the primary
contractors. Together they have contributed $326,400 to members of the
JSF Caucus in the first year of the 2012 election cycle according to a
joint analysis of campaign finance data by the Center for Responsive
Politics and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).
The average member
of the JSF Caucus received $6,094 which is nearly double what they gave
($3,077) to the average representative not in the caucus. In addition,
individuals working for these firms also disproportionately direct their
campaign contributions to these representatives, by giving almost twice
as much money ($706) to those on the caucus verses ($387) for those not
on the caucus. The co-chairs of the JSF caucus, Granger and Dicks
received the largest money. Dicks received $29,500 and Granger received
$45,700 from the JSF contractors.
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