Alan Estevez, the
nominee to be the Pentagon's principal deputy undersecretary for acquisition,
faced heated questions on the F-35 strike fighter during his Feb. 28 nomination
March 1, 2013—In a heated exchange with Alan
President Obama's choice to be principal deputy undersecretary of defense for
acquisition, technology, and logistics, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) angrily
ruffled his papers and threw his pencil as he tried to emphasize his
frustration over the continued delays and cost overruns in the F-35 strike
you tell us there will be no further cost overruns borne by the federal
government?" asked McCain during Thursday's Senate Armed Services
Committee hearing to consider Estevez's nomination.
could not possibly do that, senator," replied Estevez, who then emphasized
the program's recent restructuring.
added, "Well, if I sound frustrated . . . it's because I am. This
committee has been tracking this program for many years. We've had witness
after witness. We've had promise after promise. We've had commitment after
commitment, and yet, the only thing that has remained constant is that Lockheed
[Martin] has earned a 7 percent profit since the program began."
terse exchange stemmed from the recent
the existing fleet of F-35 test and training aircraft following the discovery
of an engine blade crack on one of the Air Force's test airplanes and from comments
made by F-35 program chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan about the state of the government-industry
relationship on the multi-billion-dollar program.
I see Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney doing today is behaving as if
they are getting ready to sell me the very last F-35 and the very last engine
and are trying to squeeze every nickel out of that last F-35 and that last
engine," said McCain, quoting comments Bogdan made this week to reporters
at an air show in Australia.
supplies the F-35's F135 engine.
Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) repeatedly tried to get Estevez to contradict
Bogdan's claims, though Estevez wasn't biting.
not sure that the [Defense Department] would agree with Lieutenant General
Bogdan in that implication," said Blumenthal, in whose state P&W has
its headquarters and builds the F135.
not going to try to speak for Lt. Gen. Bogdan. We have not spoken on this as he
is traveling," replied Estevez.
added, "My own view is that that relationship could be improved but these
remarks do not reflect the relationship as it is now."
is not the first time Bogdan has spoken harshly about the industry-government
September, during AFA's Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., Bogdan
called the government's
with Lockheed Martin "the worst I've ever seen" on a program in his
20 years of experience in defense acquisition.
asked by reporters in Australia if the relationship was improving, Bogdan said
it was, although not at the rate that he would prefer, reported Reuters.
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