Index

 

 

Opening Statement

Representative John Tierney

Subcommittee on National Security,

Veterans Affairs, and International Relations

 

December 7, 1999

 

 

 

GOOD MORNING. THANK YOU MR. CHAIRMAN FOR CALLING THIS HEARING.

LET ME WELCOME OUR WITNESSES FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND THE AIR FORCE. THANK YOU ALSO TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR PROVIDING AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD.

THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE CURRENTLY IS OPERATING THREE AIRCRAFT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS THAT SOME HAVE PROJECTED TO COST MORE THAN 350 BILLION DOLLARS.

MOST EXPERTS SEEM TO AGREE THAT THE PENTAGON CANNOT AFFORD ALL THREE OF THESE PROGRAMS UNDER ANY REASONABLE POTENTIAL SCENARIO.

AS A RESULT, EXPERTS FROM ALL SIDES HAVE RAISED QUESTIONS WITH EACH OF THESE PROGRAMS, SUCH AS:

-- THE NECESSITY AND RELAVENCE OF EACH PROGRAM IN TODAY’S POST-COLD WAR ENVIRONMENT,

-- THE ABILITY OF EACH AIRCRAFT TO OPERATE BETWEEN AND AMONG THE VARIOUS SERVICES,

-- THE CONTINUED VIABILITY OF STRATEGIC USES FOR THESE AIRCRAFT, AND, OF COURSE,

-- THE COSTS OF EACH PROGRAM.

IN ADDITION TO FOCUSING ON THE CONTINUED INCREASES IN COSTS FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PRODUCTION OF THE F-22, THIS HEARING IS ALSO DIRECTED TOWARDS ANALYZING THE MEASURES UTILIZED BY THE AIR FORCE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TO PREDICT AND CONTROL THESE COSTS.

ALTHOUGH I UNDERSTAND THE AIR FORCE HAS ACHIEVED MANY OF ITS PERFORMANCE GOALS FOR THE F-22, IT APPEARS FROM THE WRITTEN STATEMENT BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE THAT PROGRAM COSTS ARE CONTINUING TO RISE DESPITE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF COST CONTROL MEASURES.

THE BROAD QUESTION RAISED IS WHETHER THE AIR FORCE SHOULD BE MORE REALISTIC IN TERMS OF ANTICIPATING DELAYS IN CONSTRUCTION, IN SUBCONTRACTOR PERFORMANCE, AND IN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT.

LOOKING AT THE RECORD OF THE PAST TEN YEARS, IT APPEARS THAT THE AIR FORCE HAS CONSISTENTLY UNDERESTIMATED THE LENGTH OF DELAYS AND INCREASES IN COSTS.

AT SOME POINT, REPEATED UPWARD ADJUSTMENTS CEASE TO BE "UNEXPECTED."

AT SOME POINT, THEY REVEAL A STRATEGY THAT IS OVERLY OPTIMISTIC.

AS WITH ANY PRIORITIZATION ANALYSIS, COST CONCERNS WITH THE F-22 PROGRAM MUST INFORM THE LARGER QUESTIONS, SUCH AS THE RELEVANCE OF THE F-22 PROGRAM IN LIGHT OF OTHER ONGOING AIRCRAFT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS.

ESSENTIALLY, AS THE COSTS FOR THE F-22 PROGRAM CONTINUE TO INCREASE, THE VALUE OF EACH AIRCRAFT DECREASES COMPARED TO OTHER ALTERNATIVES.

FOR THESE REASONS, I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM BOTH OF OUR WITNESSES ABOUT MEASURES THEY ARE TAKING TO PREDICT MORE ACCURATELY FUTURE COST INCREASES, AS WELL AS MEASURES BEING IMPLEMENTED TO REDUCE CURRENT COST ESTIMATES.

ONCE AGAIN, I THANK THE WITNESSES FOR BEING HERE .