There should be little doubt by this point that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is an honest broker. His actions since he's been in office suggest he has no personal or political agenda. He's shown he deeply cares about the troops. So when he does a deep dive on the Air Force's fighter aircraft requirement and emerges with 187 as the right number of Raptors -- all things considered -- Americans can feel confident that he's doing the right thing. And taxpayers can actually start to believe that their hard-earned dollars might not ultimately be wasted. Procurement reform just might be possible.
(Cue scary music.) Then Congress shows up and smashes all hope. To wit, AP reports:
Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-22 program got an unexpected lift Wednesday after House lawmakers approved $369 million to continue production of the radar-evading fighter jets.The surprise amendment, likely to reopen a debate over the necessity of the Cold War planes that cost $140 million each, was approved by the House Armed Services Committee. Republicans largely backed the measure and were joined by a handful of Democrats in a 31-30 vote.The extra funding was adopted as part of the 2010 Defense Department spending bill mark-up. The bill still needs to make its way through the full House and Senate.
Notice how it's called a "mark-up" and not "mark-down" or even "mark-sideways"? Same as it ever was . . .
Read the full AP report here.