When Did You Say?

There seems to be some confusion over just when the Obama Administration must make the call on whether to continue production of the F-22 fighter force. Earlier this week, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters that the final decision would not come until submission of the Fiscal 2010 defense budget, now set for mid-April. Almost everyone had considered the Congressionally directed March 1 date as the F-22 “go or no-go” deadline. Just last month, Pentagon boss Robert Gates told lawmakers that he wasn’t concerned about the price tag going up as the Pentagon slowed release of funds for long-lead items because the Lockheed Martin estimates were good until March 16 by which time President Obama would have made his decision on the F-22’s fate. Now, Morrell says he would “take issue with the characterization of “go or no-go” decision for March 1. On that day, he said, the Pentagon would have informed Congress of its intent to allocate the remainder of the long-lead funds. He added, “You will know when the FY ’10 budget is rolled out where the F-22 program is going, but not until that point.” (Morrell on F-22)