Strike Out

/ January 23, 2009 at 5:00 AM

You can't always believe what you read on the Internet.

This morning, the Aviation Week blog “Ares” posted an entry titled “JSF Blows Nunn-McCurdy." The post claims a "bombshell" recently was dropped by the Government Accountability Office on a GAO Web page for the presidential transition, which states:

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) -- DOD's largest acquisition program procuring aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, Marines, and U.S. allies -- also recently declared a Nunn-McCurdy unit cost breach. This program faces considerable risks stemming from its decision to reduce test assets and the flight-test program to pay for development and manufacturing cost increases.

According to Ares, this is a big deal.

Outgoing program office director Maj Gen Charles Davis chose not to mention the breach in a 90-minute briefing and discussion at the Brookings Institute last week, and although several questions were asked about costs, nobody specifically used the N-word.

And the post ends thusly: "Welcome to the Pentagon, Mr President!"

There's just one problem: The Web site links to a GAO report dated almost a year ago, citing a Nunn-McCurdy breach from 2005.

Contacted by Inside the Air Force today, GAO said the wording of its statement may be a little misleading. Mike Sullivan, the director of GAO's aqcuisition and sourcing management team, told ITAF that “the Nunn-McCurdy breach . . . actually was in the December 2005 (selected acquisition reports). It's three years old. We were just trying to list programs that had Nunn-McCurdy breaches since they changed the Nunn-McCurdy criteria, and it was a unit-cost breach. It probably should have been explained better, but when we say 'recent,' it didn't happen now, it's three years old.”

-- Jason Simpson

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