Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.) asked Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England an obvious question during the committee’s second hearing on the plan to eliminate the alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Warner wanted to know how the Pentagon could issue a $2.5 billion long-term production contract just last August, then decide a few months later to cancel it. England called the decision the “leading edge” of some hard budget choices for DOD. He claimed that, unlike the “great engine war” of the 1980s, this new arrangement would yield no competition savings and only some production savings in the year 2025. It would, maintained England, lead to procurement delays. He added, “I do not believe that is beneficial for any of the countries involved.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.