In its ruling on the A-12 case Monday, the Supreme Court rejected a concern that defense contractors could “goad” the government into invoking a state-secrets privilege in order to litigate their way out of an over-budget program. “Government contractors—especially cutting-edge defense contractors of the sort likely to operate in the state-secrets field—are repeat players,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia for the unanimous court. “Even apart from the judicial sanctions available to punish bad conduct,” or frivolous lawsuits, “they have a strong incentive to behave rather than risk missing out on the next multi-billion-dollar defense contract.” Further, Scalia said the court had to resort to “its common-law authority to fashion contractual remedies in government contract disputes” in the A-12 case, and since the ruling is “common law” as opposed to statute, it is “subject to further refinement” in cases where the facts are “significantly different.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.