After Senate floor consideration,
the two panels will have to negotiate
the differences in the bills, including
the Super Hornet language.
Boeing has pushed hard for the
second multiyear contract, and a senior company official said he hopes
House-Senate conference negotiations on the bill maintain the House’s
authorization of the $100 million.
“We believe it is vitally important
that both the [House Armed Services
Committee] HASC and SASC support the cost-reduction initiative
[CRI] funding permission found in
the HASC bill,” said Bob Gower,
Boeing’s vice president of F/A- 18 and
EA- 18 programs. “CRI is an essential
step in securing the maximum cost
savings in a multiyear procurement
contract; that saves both the taxpayer and the DoD money.”
The first two multiyear contracts
for the Super Hornets are estimated
to have saved $1.7 billion over the
cost of a traditional procurement
contract, according to Boeing.
Cutting costs in fiscal 2009, a full
year before the start of any new
multiyear contract, is particularly
critical because of a provision in the
2008 defense authorization bill stating that multiyear contracts should
yield a 10 percent cost savings.
The language, a response to lawmakers’ concerns that these multiyear deals hamper congressional
oversight and commit future Con-gresses to pay for the programs,
states that proposals offering smaller
savings “should only be considered if
the [Defense] Department presents
an exceptionally strong case.”
“It is increasingly likely the Navy
will need to acquire additional Super
Hornets to address its strike fighter
aircraft shortage,” Gower said. “The
best way to do that for the Navy and
the taxpayer is with a multiyear procurement that saves Navy funding
and taxpayer dollars.”
Concerns about the strike fighter
shortfall has risen to the most senior
levels of the defense panels, with
“Our job is not to launch Tomahawk missiles here; it’s effectively to launch ideas. By doing that, maybe you avoid, a
decade later, the need to be there with a Tomahawk missile.”
Adm. James Stavridis
Commander, U.S. Southern Command
On the Navy’s role in addressing the security challenges of Latin America.
“Don’t allow yourself to be provoked by some local yokel. In
the same breath, I say don’t allow yourself to be successfully
Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff
Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet
On the challenges for the U.S. Navy when operating in the Persian Gulf region.
“It’s a great opportunity to make a mistake without costing
the government a bundle of money.”
Ensign Chet Walker
On the bridge simulator training available at the new Navigation, Seamanship
and Ship-handling Trainer complex at Norfolk Naval Station.
House Armed Services Chairman
Ike Skelton, D-Mo., and Senate
Armed Services Chairman Carl
Levin, D-Mich., highlighting the
issue during hearings this year.
But some lawmakers, including
House Armed Services seapower
forces subcommittee Chairman Gene
Taylor, D-Miss., have expressed
reservations about entering into
another multiyear deal before fully
vetting the idea and planning how
the Navy can pay for it.
During the HASC’s markup of the
authorization measure in May, Taylor
rejected efforts by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., to authorize the multiyear purchase. The two lawmakers instead
settled on the compromise language
in the bill, but not before Taylor said
he feared another multiyear contract
would cost $8 billion and potentially
jeopardize other Navy programs.
Robert Work, vice president of
strategic studies at the Center for
Strategic and Budgetary Assessments,
acknowledged the concerns about
procuring more Super Hornets than
planned. But he added that the Navy
could afford more of the fighters if it
ends up buying the F-35C later than
“I know that the Navy is very
keen on solving the strike fighter
problem,” Work said.
For its part, the Navy is undergoing an in-depth analysis of the
strike fighter shortfall and ways to
mitigate it. At press time, the service was expected to complete the
study by late June.
Taylor Urges Young
To Scrap DDG 1000 Plan
Taylor has taken his campaign to
halt production of the DDG 1000
destroyer directly to Pentagon’s
acquisition czar, arguing that
expected cost overruns will “
bankrupt” other ship programs.