SASC Letter Blasts LRS-B Estimate Errors

The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee have requested a series of reports and assessments from the Air Force regarding the cost estimates and projections regarding the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program, following the revision of a recent DOD report on the program’s long-term cost. In an Aug. 26 letter addressed to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, SASC Chair Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) criticize DOD for “significant errors” in the long-term cost estimates for the program, which was given to Congress as part of the “1043 report.” The 1043 report, an annual accounting to Congress, which details the Pentagon’s 10-year nuclear weapons spending, listed the 10-year estimate for the LRS-B program as $58.4 billion, a figure USAF leadership has? since said was in error. The service revised that number down to $41.7 billion, noting it includes research and development, test, operation, and support, but not overhead. “To commit administrative errors amounting to tens of billions of dollars is simply unacceptable,” the senators wrote. The letter also requests amended reports for the congressional defense committees with corrected information, detailed accounting of the elements used to estimate the 10-year projections, an explanation for the increase, and how the corrected costs were calculated, among other assessments of the program. (See also Bomber Replacements, Bomber Numbers.)