Statement of Rep. Christopher Shays
December 7, 1999
Last February, in response to our request to describe high risk programs in the Department of Defense (DoD), the General Accounting Office (GAO) testified that unrealistic cost, schedule and performance estimates continue to plague major weapon systems acquisitions. GAO pointed specifically to cost overruns in the program to design and build the next generation air superiority jet fighter, the F-22.
In March, GAO told Congress it was unlikely the Air Force would be able to keep the F-22 Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) program within cost limits. They cited persistent EMD spending growth not addressed by control strategies and testing delays that could push costs higher still.
At that time, DoD assured the subcommittee cost control continues to be a primary emphasis in the F-22 program, and congressionally mandated spending caps would not be exceeded. The Departments top acquisition reform official described "comprehensive measures to track and control F-22 program costs." DoD promised close monitoring of Air Force efforts to cut $660 million in projected development expenses, and $16 billion in estimated production spending, from the $60 billion program.
Nevertheless, defense authorization and appropriation bills this year reflected growing congressional unease over the price and pace of the F-22 program. A commitment to F-22 production was delayed, and made contingent on sufficient pre-production testing and completion of delayed avionics development.
So today, we revisit the issues of F-22 cost control and development delays, asking how spending control strategies are being implemented and how program managers are meeting leaner budgets and tighter schedules.
We do so in pursuit of our broad oversight mission to monitor programs identified as vulnerable to waste and mismanagement. This hearing affords the subcommittee, and DoD, an opportunity to assess the progress, and the problems, of a major acquisition effort hailed by some as a model of advanced technical development, but scorned by others as vintage, wasteful Cold War procurement out of sync with post-Cold War national security needs.
In order to focus on current F-22 cost controls, we invited only Defense Department witnesses to testify today. At the Subcommittees request, GAO will provide testimony on specific aspects of F-22 production cost savings at a future hearing.
I also want to acknowledge the work of our subcommittee colleague from Massachusetts, Congressman John Tierney, who has been dedicated and articulate in expressing his concerns over F-22 costs, and who has been a full partner in our oversight of DoD acquisition reforms.
The future of U.S. air power will be shaped by our past. Let us begin todays hearing with a moment of silent remembrance for the 2,403 Americans who lost their lives fifty-eight years ago today at Pearl Harbor.