F-35: Good Cop, Bad Cop

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MARCO LONGARI / AFP / Getty Images

Senator John McCain, left, and Senator Richard Blumenthal have divergent views on the F-35.

Air Force Lieut. General Christopher Bogdan, the F-35 program manager, certainly raised eyebrows the other day with his comments in Australia about the $400 billion program he is running:

“What I see [F-35 builder] Lockheed Martin and [F-35 engine-maker] Pratt & Whitney doing today is behaving as if they are getting ready to sell me the very last F-35 and the very last engine and are trying to squeeze every nickel out of that last F-35 and that last engine. I want them both to start behaving like they want to be around for 40 years. I want them to take on some of the risk of this program, I want them to invest in cost reductions, I want them to do the things that will build a better relationship. I’m not getting all that love yet.”

Like a GPS-guided bomb dropped into a still pond, the ripples generated by his comments are spreading. Thursday, they lapped over into a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing into the confirmation of Alan Estevez, President Obama’s choice to be principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics.



Bogdan: Hero or blue-suited blowhard? You decide!

Senators were very interested in Bogdan’s comments, and to what degree they reflect the current views of the U.S. government.

To keep you from having to read troubling news (and, truth be told, because it’s Sequestration Friday), Battleland has broken down the exchanges between Estevez and two senators, so you only have to read the one that supports your point of view:

— If you believe the three-star Air Force general is a hero for speaking truth to power, and holding industrial giants to account, check out Estevez’s chat with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., here.

— But if you think Bogdan is a blue-suited blowhard out to browbeat the hard-working and penny-pinching U.S. defense industry, you might prefer to see what Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumental, D-Pratt & Whitney, had to say here.