Republican lawmakers on Tuesday night criticized President Obama’s last State of the Union address, saying he failed to explain the US policy for defeating ISIS. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, in her televised response to the speech, said that while Obama winning the presidency was historic and inspirational for many Americans, “the President’s record has often fallen short of his soaring words.” Haley said the US is “facing the most dangerous terrorist threat our nation has seen since Sept. 11, and this President appears unwilling or unable to deal with it.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who recently dropped out of the Republican presidential race, said in a written statement that he agrees with “a majority of Americans” who believe the country “is headed in the wrong direction.” Graham predicted a dangerous and challenging year ahead, and said he heard “nothing” from Obama “to suggest that we’re actually going to destroy ISIL.” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Obama “squandered yet another opportunity to articulate a coherent strategy to achieve ISIL’s lasting defeat.” In a written statement, McCain also pointed out that Obama did not address the fact that 10 American sailors were taken into custody in Iran, alleging that the President omitted the incident “so as not to interfere” with a discussion of the nuclear deal. “Our nation does not need lofty words. It needs bold action,” McCain said.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.