Hot Time in the Senate

Call it coincidental, but Tuesday’s edition of the Washington Post carried a timely article about a possible conflict of interest involving an independent review of the F-22 program—just in time to make the story a hot topic at Tuesday’s Senate panel hearing on USAF’s proposed multiyear program. The Post article questioned the relationship of Ret. Adm. Dennis Blair, who is both president of the Institute for Defense Analyses—whose review endorsed the MYP—and is a board member of F-22 subcontractor EDO Corp. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) bristled over the article, saying it was “full of lies” and stated that the Air Force did not change the size of its purchase after obtaining IDA’s MYP analysis. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), a vocal proponent of the MYP approach, argued that the Raptor is a critical capability for the nation and that he couldn’t let the opportunity to save $235 million go by. Chambliss insinuated that some staff member had “leaked” information to the Post. That prompted Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who chairs the Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee, to ask just which staff Chambliss meant. It turns out that the Project on Government Oversight supplied the inflammatory information to the newspaper. POGO certainly got everyone’s attention, but to put matters in perspective, Government Executive reports that one Senate aide noted that EDO’s contribution to the F-22 program is less than one percent.