Representative Steve Driehaus today met with the President, urging him not to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) if it reauthorizes the Joint Strike Fighter Competitive Engine Program. In a letter that Rep. Driehaus delivered to the President, a bipartisan group of Ohio's congressional delegation underscored the importance of the program for Ohio jobs and long-term cost savings.
"The Joint Strike Fighter Competitive Engine program is tied to nearly 1,000 jobs in greater Cincinnati, and many more throughout Ohio. At the same time, a competitive engine program will enhance our national security and promises savings to American taxpayers in the long run," said Rep. Driehaus. "We have already invested nearly $3 billion in the competitive engine, and the program is nearly complete. A clear majority of my House colleagues voted for reauthorization, and I urge the President to protect jobs and support competition by allowing the competitive engine development to continue."
Text of the letter to the President follows.
June 18, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We respectfully request that you reconsider your pledge to veto the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 should it contain funding for the Joint Strike Fighter's competitive engine program. This program will save money in the long run, improve the readiness of our armed forces, and save more than 1,100 jobs in the State of Ohio. With an unemployment rate of 10.9 percent, the loss of these jobs for Ohio at this time would only hinder our state's economic recovery.
The U.S. Congress and your Administration agreed to the competitive principle in the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009. Competition is the force that will drive down the cost for developing the primary engine for the Joint Strike Fighter over time. Already, the cost for the development of the primary engine has increased $2.5 billion (65% from an original $4.8 billion in Fiscal Year 2002 to $7.3 billion today). Additionally, the U.S. Government Accountability Office has cited its expectation that " savings of 10.3 to 12.3 percent would recoup that investment, and actual experience from past engine competitions suggests that it is reasonable to assume that competition on the JSF [Joint Strike Fighter] engine program could yield savings of at least that much." It is clear that competition reduces prices and leads to improvements in technology.
The State of Ohio is the birthplace of aviation. Communities throughout the State of Ohio both foster and rely upon the aerospace industry given that our state is the home to General Electric Aviation, the world's largest producer of aircraft propulsion systems; the National Aeronautical and Space Administration's Glenn Research Center; and the Air Force Institute of Technology at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Together Ohio is the home to more than 1,200 companies that employ more than 100,000 individuals who make an average of $69,000 a year within Ohio's aerospace sector. This includes more than 450 aerospace propulsion, power suppliers, and manufacturing businesses as well.
Again, we respectfully request that you not veto the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2011 should it authorize funding for the Joint Strike Fighter's competitive engine program.
Marcia L. Fudge
Steven C. LaTourette
Mary Jo Kilroy
Zachary T. Space