Here’s a fascinating little tidbit that almost escaped me. The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is asking Congress to remove the 12 extra F/A-18E/Fs that were included in the defense authorization budget bill. You may or may not know that the Navy included 12 extra Hornets on their unfunded requirements list which is a list submitted to Congress containing “wish list” items if Congress feels so inclined as to provide extra funding. Essentially, it’s a priority list for unanticipated, extra funding. Guess what? To everyone’s surprise, Congress actually funded the extra Hornets and now OSD is trying to remove them from the budget.
So, what do we make of this? The Navy has extra Hornets on their unfunded requirements list, Congress funds them, and now OSD is asking Congress to delete them. ComNavOps can see only one explanation.
Someone is nervous about the viability of the F-35 and wants to ensure that there are no viable competitors in the form of the Hornet and that no one gets the bright idea to keep the Hornet production line going. An active Hornet production line represents a viable alternative to the F-35 and people higher than the Navy don’t want that. Add in the possibility of the Advanced Super Hornet with some of the F-35’s technology and you’ve got a seriously viable alternative. It’s easy to see why that would make F-35 program managers nervous.
The Navy tells Congress what it needs. Congress funds the need. OSD attempts to prevent that. That’s a seriously screwed up system. Is there any further doubt about who’s calling the shots in the military? I’m looking at you, Lockheed.
The request from OSD to Congress states that,
“…the additional 12 F/A-18E/F aircraft unfunded requirement is not required.”
Well, they’re not needed by Lockheed Martin, that’s for sure! However, the Navy seems to think they’re needed. I guess we see who’s running the Department of
Lockheed Martin Defense.
(1)USNI, “Pentagon Asks Congress to Reverse Decision to Add 12 Super Hornets for Navy”, Megan Eckstein,
July 17, 2015,