- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Department of Defense’s $1 trillion, 20-year Joint Strike Fighter program is a prime target in the campaign to reduce military spending.

The agreement with Lockheed Martin to develop the fifth-generation jet fighter and deliver 3,000 of them over 10 years was penned Oct. 26, 2001, at the height of confusion and despair after the Sept. 11 terrorist atrocities.

It is the largest arms contract in the history of the world, costing $219 billion to develop and manufacture the fighter planes. Ten years later, the cost has ballooned to $500 billion for 2,400 planes. Maintenance and flight costs have almost quadrupled from original estimates. Total lifetime costs of the weapons system is well over a $1 trillion and delivery is five to seven years behind schedule.

Every day, Lockheed Martin receives $32 million from taxpayers to pay for the JSF program alone. A full-court press by citizens during the next five months to downsize JSF could result in savings of $500 billion.


ROSCOE KOPPEL

Portland, Ore.