Smiling Inside and Outside

“We’re obviously happy,” said Air Force Maj. Gen C.R. Davis, F-35 program executive officer, during a teleconference with reporters April 8, when discussing the Pentagon’s just-issued selected acquisition report for the final quarter of 2007 and the fact that it shows a “slight decrease” of about 0.3 percent in the total cost of the F-35 program (see above). He also lambasted the recent Government Accountability Office report that said F-35 cost has grown by $38 billion. “We do not agree” with the GAO’s numbers, Davis said, explaining that GAO simply added up the numbers that other services, agencies, and advisory groups all said could reflect cost growth in the F-35 program. The GAO did not develop its own numbers, he said. “There’s no basis” for the GAO’s conclusions, and they have “no numbers to support” their assertions, Davis said. The data in the new cost report, which the Pentagon released April 7, provide “balance” for all the negative press engendered by the GAO report, Davis said. The GAO’s findings caused Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.), in whose state Boeing builds F-15s and F/A-18s, to state publicly in March that he expected the F-35 program to breach Nunn-McCurdy cost-monitoring thresholds, which are sometimes an omen that a weapons program is becoming unraveled.