So said Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.). chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep Mark Udall (D-Colo.), panel member, in a joint statement yesterday in response to the newly issued Government Accountability Office report on the risks involved with moving NORAD functions from Cheyenne Mountain, Colo., to a new combined NORAD-US Northern Command control center that began operations May 29 at Peterson Air Force Base. GAO said yesterday its new review of the topic, for which it has previously sounded warning bells, has shown that DOD has still not objectively—at least to GAO’s satisfaction—weighed the costs and benefits of the move and factored the vulnerabilities associated with it. As a result, concerned that NORTHCOM’s mission “has been weakened by this decision,” Skelton and Udall called for the Defense Secretary “to retain redundant operations at Cheyenne Mountain” until completion of a thorough review. “Decisions to relocate critical command and control functions need to be carefully considered, using the best information available to ensure that our nation’s defense is as strong as it can be,” they wrote.
The Pentagon awarded a contract worth over $2 billion for the next batch of F-35 engines to Pratt & Whitney on June 5. The deal for Lot 17 F135 engines, totaling $2.02 billion, is expected to be completed by December 2025.