Justifying the Wait

We already know that the Office of the Secretary of Defense did not let Congress know by March 1 whether it intends to keep buying more F-22s. But here’s some additional justification provided by John Young, the Pentagon’s outgoing acquisition czar: In a Feb. 27 letter to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Young said, “It is prudent” for OSD to complete its Fiscal 2010 defense budget review before making a recommendation to the White House—and subsequently informing Congress—“due to the importance of this decision.” (This review was not complete by March 1.) Young also said OSD really didn’t have to provide an answer by March 1 since OSD will not exceed the $140 million cap that Congress imposed on advance procurement of materials and parts for more F-22s pending the Administration’s submittal of its decision. In fact, OSD has released only $50 million of that $140 million for that purpose so far.