“Not So Much a Study”

It now turns out that a recent “study” touted by Pentagon leadership as the justification for terminating the F-22 fighter isn’t really a study at all, but a series of briefings by DOD’s Program Analysis and Evaluation shop and the Air Force. That word comes from the Pentagon’s top spokesman, Geoff Morrell, who told the Daily Report late Tuesday that the study, ah, whatever it is, is “not so much a ‘study’” as “work products.” Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman Gen. James Cartwright told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, “There is a study in the Joint Staff that we just completed and partnered with the Air Force” which, he said, nailed the F-22 requirement at 187 aircraft—not the 243 that the Air Force says is the minimum requirement. Asked to describe the nature and timing of this study, Morrell told the Daily Report , “What I think General Cartwright was referring to … is two different work products”—one by the PA&E shop and one by the Air Force—“and not so much a ‘study.’” Morrell said work on the F-22 issue was done by “both entities” and that each was likely “informed by the other,” but they didn’t amount to “formal studies,” and they had no formal name, such as the last known DOD analysis of fighter requirements, “Joint Air Dominance,” dating to about 2004. Cartwright, in his testimony before the committee, wasn’t clear about how many studies had been done, but said that 187 F-22 s would be enough for a one-war strategy. He assured SASC chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) that he’d get whatever justifying analysis exists to the committee right away. However, Morrell said yesterday that “I don’t know that it has been provided, yet.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been claiming a rigorous analytical basis for stopping the F-22 since early this year. Congress has been pressing the Pentagon for a vetted analysis of F-22 requirements since 2007, when then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England was directed to provide, within a year, a comprehensive tacair plan that would specifically explain how the number of F-22s had been determined. According to various members of Congress, he never complied with this directive.