Hollow Veto Threat?

Hollow Veto Threat: Any threat that President Obama would veto the Fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill over the inclusion of a competitive engine for the F-35 strike fighter is hollow, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said Monday. Levin, speaking with defense journalists in Washington, D.C., said he “can’t imagine” Obama exercising a veto over this issue “when the Pentagon’s own assessment” says that the cost of completing development of the General Electric-Rolls Royce F-136 engine is “a wash” compared to the ultimate savings of competition. Levin also thinks the Pentagon “tilted” its analysis to reach even that indecisive conclusion. Moreover, Levin said Defense Secretary Robert Gates is “wrong” in claiming that there has already been a competition between the F136 and Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine to power the F-35 and the loser is simply trying to reverse the decision legislatively. “There’s never been competition on the engine,” Levin insisted. (See also Skelton Waves F136 Shield)