Hit List

By Thomas Duffy / December 20, 2010 at 8:15 PM

The Joint Strike Fighter program office says the F-35 is "the Department of Defense's focal point for defining affordable next-generation strike aircraft weapon systems for the Navy, Air Force, Marines and our allies. The focus of the program is affordability -- reducing the development cost, production cost, and cost of ownership of the JSF family of aircraft."

But Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) says the Pentagon is wasting taxpayer money in its pursuit of JSF.

Coburn today released his most recent annual government oversight report,"Wastebook 2010: A Guide to Some of the Most Wasteful Government Spending of 2010." The JSF is the only Pentagon program to make Coburn's list.

Here's what Coburn has to say about the JSF:

The Department of Defense's Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is the military's most expensive weapon system acquisition program, but constant cost overruns have kept the price tag climbing ever higher to get less and less. Pentagon officials plan to spend over $323 billion to acquire nearly 2,400 fighter planes, but in 2001, the military expected to pay $231 billion for 2,800 fighter planes. despite the more than 50 percent increase, taxpayers will be paying much more for fewer planes.

According to Coburn, at least $1.5 billion of the program's increased costs this year "are a result of DOD mismanagement."

Coburn does not call for the outright cancellation of the JSF. In a statement, he said he issued the oversight book to "give taxpayers and concerned citizens the information they need to hold Washington accountable."

Noting that military leaders consider the nation's debt to be the gravest national security threat, Coburn does give some insight to his thinking about his choices for this year's wasteful spending list. "Well-intentioned people across the political spectrum will argue about the best way to get us back on track. But we can all agree that cutting wasteful and low priority spending from the budget is not only sensible, but essential," he states.