[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 157 (2011), Part 15]
[Pages 20187-20191]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, shortly we will begin debate on the 
conference report of the Defense authorization bill, the 50th year the 
Congress of the United States has authorized the equipment, the 
programs, and all that is necessary to defend this Nation's security.
  I want to talk today about a very important aspect of our national 
security, and that is the problem we are having with out-of-control 
spending which has, in its own way, endangered our national security as 
almost any threat that we face. It is unsustainable, it is 
unacceptable, and it is a stain on our Nation's honor.
  Fifty years ago, on January 17, 1961, Dwight David Eisenhower bid 
farewell to the Nation as the President of the United States. At the 
heart of his farewell address was a warning, one keenly insightful in 
its sense how, in a way new to the American experience, an immense 
military establishment and large arms industry had developed in the 
20th century post-war period. While acknowledging the need for a strong 
national defense, President Eisenhower called for the American people 
to understand the grave implications of this new aggregation of 
political and industrial power. In particular he warned:

       In the councils of government, we must guard against the 
     acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or 
     unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential 
     for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will 

  The 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower's address gives us an 
opportunity to carefully consider have we considered President 
Eisenhower's admonition. Regrettably and categorically the answer is 
no. In fact, the military-industrial complex has become much worse than 
President Eisenhower originally envisioned. It has evolved to capture 
Congress. So the phenomenon should now rightly be called the military-
industrial-congressional complex.
  On July 16, 2009, in a speech to the Economic Club of Chicago, then-
Secretary Gates described the military-industrial-congressional complex 
in this way:

       First, there is the Congress, which is understandably 
     concerned . . . about protecting jobs in certain states and 
     congressional districts. There is the defense and aerospace 
     industry, which has an obvious financial stake in the 
     survival and growth of these programs. And there is the 
     institutional military itself--within the Pentagon, and as 
     expressed through an influential network of retired generals 
     and admirals. . . .

  One aspect of the military-industrial-congressional complex I have 
focused on considerably over the last few years is its role in 
congressional earmarks, congressional pet projects, unwanted by the 
administration but amounting to billions of dollars annually that 
frequently take on a life of their own in a way that continues to waste 
taxpayer resources for years and sometimes decades. In the military-
industrial-congressional complex, earmarks are the currency of 
  Another manifestation of the military-industrial-congressional 
complex I have called attention to is the revolving door that exists 
between the Pentagon and the defense industry. In 1969, then-Senator 
William Proxmire said this about the revolving door in the context of 
defense procurement:

       The easy movement of high-ranking military officers into 
     jobs with major defense contractors and the reverse movement 
     of top executives in major defense contractors into high 
     Pentagon jobs is solid evidence of the military-industrial 
     complex in operation. It is a real threat to the public 
     interest because it increases the chances of abuse. . . . How 
     hard a bargain will officers involved in procurement planning 
     or specifications drive when they are one or two years from 
     retirement and have the example to look at over 2,000 fellow 
     officers doing well on the outside after retirement?

  Probably the most recently publicized example of the revolving door 
between the Department of Defense and private industry and the 
prevalence of the military-industrial-congressional complex in the 
Department's planning and procurement processes is its mentorship 
program. In its most recent story in a series exposing this program, 
USA Today reported that the Air Force allowed a retired general officer 
who was then serving as an executive in the Boeing Company to 
participate as a mentor in a war game involving the aerial refueling 
tanker that Boeing was at the same time competing to build for the Air 
Force under a multibillion dollar procurement program. Over the last 2 
years, I have exercised keen oversight of the mentorship program, which 
I understand has been essentially shut down under the weight of newly 
promulgated public disclosure requirements. In other words, former 
general and flag officers serving as Department mentors prefer to exit 
the program rather than publicly disclose their corporate affiliations 
and compensation.
  I ask unanimous consent my most recent investigative letter on the 
issue be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (See exhibit 1.)
  Mr. McCAIN. The aspect of the military-industrial-congressional 
complex I would like to focus on relates to how the Pentagon buys its 
very largest weapons systems. That covers the top 100 or so of the 
Defense Department's weapons procurement programs into which taxpayers 
have invested to date about $1.7 trillion. In particular, I would like 
to focus on how the military-industrial-congressional complex has kept 
even some of the most poorly performing programs funded, siphoning off 
precious resources even while they go over budget, face years of 
schedule delays, and fail to deliver promised capability to the war 
  To be clear, the military-industrial-congressional complex does not 
cause programs to fail, but it does help create poorly conceived 
programs, programs that are so fundamentally unsound that they are 
doomed to be poorly executed. It does help keep them alive long after 
they should have been ended or restructured.
  By ``poorly conceived,'' I mean major programs that are allowed to 
begin, despite having insufficiently defined requirements, unrealistic 
cost or schedule estimates, immature technology or too much 
manufacturing and integration risk or unrealistic performance 
  By ``poorly executed,'' I am referring to programs that poorly 
perform because of, among other things, unanticipated design, 
engineering, manufacturing or technology problems. These sorts of 
programs should never have been started to begin with or should have 
been significantly restructured or terminated at the end of the day. 
Yet through the influence of the military-industrial-congressional 
complex, they are allowed to enter the defense procurement process and 
to persist, often under the guise of a concurrent development 
acquisition strategy and executed under cost-plus contracts.
  Specifically, the military-industrial-congressional complex helps 
ensure that poorly conceived programs get on rails and stay there with 
production money when they are supposed to be still in development. For 
industry and many of their sponsors in the Pentagon and on the Hill, 
that is desirable because it is far more difficult to restructure or 
terminate a production program, even one that is performing poorly, 
than one that is in development. In the military-industrial-
congressional complex, if excessive concurrency is a drug, then the 

[[Page 20188]]

contracts used to facilitate it are its delivery vehicles.
  Over the last decade or so, what I have described has resulted in a 
massive windfall for industry. But for the taxpayer and the war 
fighter, it has been an absolute recipe for disaster.
  With the Federal budget deficit having hit $1.3 trillion for the 2011 
budget year and facing the fact that the defense budget will likely not 
grow to any significant extent in the near term, we in Congress must be 
mindful of how the military-industrial-congressional complex can 
negatively affect decisions to buy and keep major weapons systems.
  How does the military-industrial-congressional complex help create 
problem programs and keep them going long after they should have been 
canceled or restructured? A review of some of the problems with the 
original Air Force tanker lease deal is instructive. From that first 
attempt by the Air Force to replace its aging airborne tanker aircraft, 
which started nearly a decade ago, we now know, very early in the 
planning of a major defense acquisition program, senior officials from 
industry and the relevant services work with senior Members of Congress 
to ensure that the economic and therefore political benefits of the 
programs would be distributed widely among key congressional States or 
districts. That ensures long-term political buy-in and support.
  How much could the military-industrial-congressional complex's 
negative influence ultimately cost taxpayers? Once again, consider the 
original tanker lease deal as just one example.
  That deal would have had new aerial refueling aircraft developed 
under a cost-plus contract, which exposes the taxpayer to and protects 
the contractor from the negative impacts of cost overruns and schedule 
delays. Once developed, those new tanker aircraft were supposed to be 
leased--leased, not bought outright--from a sole-source contractor, as 
provided under a multibillion dollar earmark stuck in a defense 
appropriations bill, without having been vetted by the administration 
or reviewed by the relevant congressional oversight committees.
  That unusual acquisition strategy was based on a case that the Air 
Force presented at that time, which the deal's congressional sponsor 
roundly endorsed, that the legacy fleet of tankers needed to be 
replaced urgently. Needless to say, that case was proven false. There 
can be no doubt that the original tanker lease deal was a classic 
creation of the military-industrial-congressional complex.
  When we compare the likely costs of the sole-source tanker lease with 
the costs of the recently concluded tanker competition, which calls for 
fixed-price development and a purchase under full and open competition, 
the difference is dramatic. According to recent analysis by the 
Department of Defense, the original tanker lease deal would have, over 
the lifecycle of the aircraft, cost taxpayers billions of dollars more 
for a less-capable airplane. Those billions that could have been lost 
under the original tanker lease deal are effectively the cost 
associated with the military-industrial-congressional complex when it 
is allowed to run unchecked and unchallenged, and they are, 
particularly in the current fiscal environment, utterly unsustainable.
  The lesson of the original tanker lease deal is that the powerful 
combination of interests that comprise the military-industrial-
congressional complex can be strong enough to both give birth to 
procurement programs that should never have been started in the first 
place and nurture programs that should have been killed or 
fundamentally restructured early on to the grave detriment of the 
taxpayer and our service men and women.
  While over the last couple years former Secretary Gates ended some of 
the most poorly performing major programs in the defense enterprise, 
the situation remains serious. The new national military strategy calls 
the growing national debt a ``significant security risk,'' and as the 
Government Accountability Office noted in its March 2011 report, since 
2008, the total acquisition costs of the Pentagon's major defense 
acquisitions programs in its current portfolio has increased by $135 
billion, about half of which is attributed to pure cost growth and the 
other half due to cuts in the intended number of weapons we plan to 
  It should not come as a surprise that as a result, about half the 
Pentagon's very largest weapons procurement programs exceed cost-
performance goals agreed to by the Pentagon, the Office of Management 
and Budget, and the Government Accountability Office. In fact, the 
Government Accountability Office's March report found that about one-
third of all major weapons systems since 1997 have had cost overruns of 
as much as 50 percent over their original projections.
  Noting that ``the costs of developing and buying weapons have 
historically been, on average, 20 to 30 percent higher'' than Pentagon 
estimates, the Congressional Budget Office recently projected that in 
addition to health care, higher costs for weapons systems will increase 
the Pentagon budget by about $40 billion over the next 5 years.
  Congress and current leadership at the Department of Defense have 
tried to attack these problems, but they have not been successful in 
changing the prevailing culture yet.
  For example: After several attempts to change the Pentagon's buying 
approach--which, as CBO noted rarely, if ever, correctly predicts how 
much a program will likely cost--the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform 
Act of 2009 created the Office of Cost Assessment and Program 
Evaluation to analyze the cost of new programs and why they fail. It 
also required the Pentagon to keep closer tabs on technology maturity 
and emphasized testing new weapons before they entered production.
  As a result of that act, some newer major programs are not making the 
mistake of relying on overly optimistic cost estimates provided by the 
contractor or staking too much production money too early--before 
critical technologies, design drawings, and manufacturing processes 
have stabilized and matured. But even this new law will be judged well 
only if the Pentagon can demonstrate some success with its largest 
acquisition programs, even those that went into development before the 
law's enactment.
  The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Program is a good example 
of one such program. Last week I spoke at length about this program, so 
today I will keep my remarks about it brief. Currently, the F-35 is the 
Pentagon's largest weapons procurement program. It was originally 
intended as a revolutionary, affordable solution to the Navy, Marine 
Corps, and Air Force's tactical aviation needs for the future. With 
three different versions of the aircraft for each service and 
commonality in design among those versions, the Pentagon sold this 
program as a fifth generation strike fighter that would--more so than 
any other major defense procurement program--be cost effectively 
developed, procured, operated, and supported.
  According to the Pentagon, the program ``was structured from the 
beginning to be a model of acquisition reform.'' This has not been the 
  When the program was first launched, the Pentagon planned to buy over 
3,000 Joint Strike Fighters, but the development effort was performed 
so poorly that we can now only afford to buy 2,457. Given recent delays 
in restructuring rules, that number could go down further. To date, the 
total cost to buy all of the aircraft as intended has grown by about 
$150 billion to $385 billion. The cost of each Joint Strike Fighter is 
now 80 percent over the original baseline estimate, and that is 
expected to increase. It would be hard to buy a car at 80 percent over 
the original sticker price without looking for major tradeoffs.
  Currently, the Joint Strike Fighter costs an average of about $133 
million each, and that is without an engine. We have invested about $56 
billion in R&D costs in this project through fiscal year 2010.
  Over the nearly 10-year life of the F-35 program, Congress has 
authorized and appropriated funds for 135 of these aircraft. But as of 
today, the program

[[Page 20189]]

has delivered just 20 flying aircraft with most of them being used for 
testing. Early production aircraft just started to be delivered a few 
months ago--3 years late.
  The main problem with the program has been this: Before the Pentagon 
went all in on the F-35 program, it never understood the risk 
associated with developing and integrating the F-35's critical 
technologies and manufacturing each version of the plane, much less how 
much money and time would be needed to overcome these risks. So ever 
since the Pentagon awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to develop the 
Joint Strike Fighter contract in 2001, and despite having signed 
several follow-on contracts for blocks of production aircraft, the 
program has effectively been stuck in development. Experts call what 
the Pentagon has been trying to do ``concurrent development.'' I call 
it a mess.
  Using a concurrent development strategy to procure high-risk weapon 
systems that promise generational leaps in capability when, one, their 
underlying design is unstable; two, the risks associated with 
developing their critical technologies and integration are not fully 
known; and, three, their manufacturing processes are immature is a very 
bad idea. Trying to do this under cost-plus contracts is a recipe for 
  In July 2011, the Department revealed that the cost for the first 
three lots of early production aircraft amounting to 28 aircraft bought 
under cost-plus contracts exceeded by about $1 billion the original 
estimate of about $7 billion. The Department also indicated that the 
taxpayers' share of this overrun amounted to $771 million. The 
program's prime contractor would absorb approximately $283 million. By 
the way, that program's prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, declared 
record profits of $3 billion last year.
  Moreover, just a few days ago, the Department indicated the cost of 
the fourth lot of the early production aircraft bought for the first 
time in the program's history under a fixed-price-type contract may be 
as high as 10 percent over that contract's $3.46 billion target cost. 
This is a $350 million overrun with only about 40 percent of that work 
completed to date. This suggests the costs of the program have still 
not been contained despite 2 years of concentrated effort by the 
Pentagon to bring costs under control.
  Just last week the executive officer of the Joint Strike Fighter 
Program indicated in a media interview that the Joint Strike Fighter 
Program needs to slow down production and deliveries of the aircraft. 
He attributed this to the need to open the aircraft and install fixes 
to numerous structural cracks in ``hot spots'' that the program has 
discovered in the plane over the last year or so. He estimated the work 
needed to remedy these cracks could add an additional $3 million to $5 
million per aircraft.
  From these comments, I understand the overlap between development and 
production, called ``concurrency,'' that persists in the program is 
still too great to assure taxpayers they will not have to continue 
paying for costly redesigns or retrofits due to discoveries late in 
  My frustration--and, more importantly, the taxpayers' frustration-- 
with the chronic failure of this program to deliver required combat 
capability on time and on schedule cannot be overstated. This 
frustration is conveyed well in a provision in the conference report 
accompanying the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act 
that would require that the sixth lot of early production aircraft be 
procured on a firm fixed-price basis. Apparently, the fixed-price 
contract used for the fourth lot, which provides the overruns between a 
``target cost'' and ``ceiling price'' be shared between the government 
and prime contractor is failing to incentivize the contractor to 
control its costs, so tougher measures are warranted. We should all 
hope they work.
  Another example is the Marine Corps' Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, 
the EFV. The Marine Corps and General Dynamics originally promised that 
the EFV was going to be the most advanced and operationally effective 
amphibious assault vehicle ever produced. It was originally designed to 
be an over-the-horizon platform to protect the Navy ships from mines 
and shore-based missiles and maximize our flexibility and the enemy's 
difficulty in planning a defense.
  The EFV was intended to be capable of being launched from a ship up 
to 25 miles away from shore and speed to a landing zone at 25 knots. 
Once ashore, the EFV would then be able to travel at speeds equal to 
those of the Abrams tank. The Marines were originally supposed to buy 
over 1,000 of these vehicles, which were to be initially operable by 
2010, at a total cost of $7.3 billion. Needless to say, things did not 
turn out that way.
  Prototypes of the EFV were tested and were about 1,900 pounds too 
heavy and blew past original cost estimates for research and 
development. Testing also revealed significant problems in terms of 
limited visibility, excessive noise, breakdowns in the loading system 
of the 30-millimeter gun, and concerns about the hull's vulnerability 
to IED attacks.
  From its start in 1996 to about 2007, the Marine Corps and General 
Dynamics said, ``Don't worry.'' But at the end of the day, the 
program's cost rose by 55 percent to over $14 billion, and initial 
capability was pushed back to 2016. At the start of this year, the cost 
of each EFV was expected to be as much as $23 million, and the 
estimated cost to operate and maintain the vehicle went up with the 
increase in that price.
  The Commandant of the Marine Corps estimated that the EFV would 
consume over 90 percent of the Marine Corps' total ground combat 
vehicle budget. Against that backdrop, former Secretary Gates and the 
Commandant called for this program to be terminated. Unfortunately, the 
taxpayers had invested about $3 billion and the Marine Corps had waited 
15 years for an improved amphibious vehicle that simply became too 
costly to buy.
  Another example of a legacy acquisition program in trouble is the V-
22 Osprey. Inspired by the failure to rescue hostages from Iran in 
1980, the V-22 was originally designed to be a revolution in vertical 
takeoff aircraft. It was intended to improve, beyond anything currently 
in the arsenal, the ability of the Marine Corps' and our Special 
Forces' capability to get in, get out, and resupply from long range at 
high speeds in hostile landing zones.
  What we ended up with has been great expectations and enormous costs. 
Since it was first deployed, the Marine Corps' version of the V-22 has 
had a mission-capable rate in the middle to high 60-percent range as 
compared to the latest version of the Army's heavy-lift helicopters, 
the CH-47s, which had readiness rates in the high eighties to low 
nineties. During its recent deployment in Afghanistan, in fact, the V-
22's engine saw a service life of just above 200 hours, well short of 
the 500 to 600 hours that the program's managers originally estimated. 
That has caused the cost-per-flying hour to more than double to over 
$10,000 an hour as compared to about $4,600 per hour for the much older 
CH-46 it was intended to replace or about $2,600 per hour for a new, 
modern MH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.
  When it is not being repaired, the V-22 performs its missions 
impressively, but the sustainment cost of keeping the V-22 flying is 
eating up the Marine Corps' budget and causing aircraft maintainers to 
work much harder than should be required for a brandnew aircraft. While 
the V-22 program was supposed to cost just over $39 billion, 
independent estimates are that it will come in at $56 billion, a 43-
percent increase.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 10 additional minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, so 
  Mr. McCAIN. The price per aircraft has risen by 186 percent from 
$42.8 million to $122.5 million. You will notice this hybrid helicopter 
airplane's unit cost is approaching that of the troubled F-35 priced at 
about $133 million a copy, as I mentioned earlier. But the budget-
strapped Marine Corps may have to afford both of them.
  Recently, the Marine Corps conceded that over the last 3 years, the 

[[Page 20190]]

cost of operating its V-22 aircraft had increased 64 percent to $121.5 
  I want to talk about military space procurement for a minute. They 
are among the most notorious for chronically performing poorly.
  The Space-Based Infrared System program is a particularly good 
example. It has been a problem since its inception in 1996. In fact, 5 
years into the program--in 2001--an independent review cited the 
program as ``too immature to enter the system design and development 
phase'' and observed that the program was based on faulty and overly 
optimistic assumptions with respect to, among other things, 
``management stability and the level of understanding requirements.''
  That was 2001, when it was determined that total program costs could 
exceed $2 billion--a 70-percent increase in cost. And, here we are 
today, 10 years later, and the system has still not achieved its 
objectives. In fact, it was just launched, for the first time, 
recently, on May 7, 2011.
  Originally estimated to cost $2.4 billion, it is now expected to cost 
nearly $16 billion, roughly 7 times the initial estimate.
  The Defense Department reported to Congress recently that the next 
pair of these satellites built by Lockheed Martin could cost $438 
million more than previously estimated and could be delivered a year 
late. Many of the space programs are facing these same kinds of 
  In the area of military space procurement, the Air Force's Advanced 
Extremely High Frequency satellite is worth mentioning. This system of 
satellites is supposed to replenish the existing Milstar system with 
more robust and secure communication capabilities for strategic and 
tactical warfighters. While the first of six of these was launched in 
August 2010, glitches with its thruster delayed the satellite from 
reaching its planned orbit by more than a year and significantly 
affected when the other two satellites will launch. In connection with 
how the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, has performed 
on this program, the Air Force penalized Lockheed Martin by reducing 
its award fee under the contract by $15 million.
  One space acquisition program I have focused on is the Evolved 
Expendable Launch Vehicle Program. Largely because of lack of 
competition and the Department's reliance on a sole incumbent provider, 
by some estimates EELV's costs may increase by more than 50 percent 
over the next 5 years.
  I don't want to overlook the Army. Among all services the Army has 
had the poorest record of pumping billions of dollars into weapons 
systems that were never deployed. A recent Army study indicated that 
since 1995, almost 40 percent of research dollars the Army spent did 
not result in the procurement of any product. The Army spent at least 
$32 billion on development, testing, and evaluation of 22 weapons 
programs that were later canceled--almost a third of its budget for 
creating new weapons. Every year since 1995, the Army has spent $1 
billion on doomed programs. Since 2004, canceled Army programs have 
consumed between $3.3 billion and $3.8 billion. This represents an 
average of 35 to 45 percent of the Army's annual budget for 
development, testing, and engineering when factoring in the 
cancellation of the hugely expensive Future Combat Systems Program.
  This brings us right to the FCS Program. To say that this program was 
a spectacular, shameful failure would not do it justice. First 
envisioned in 1999 by then-Army Chief of Staff GEN Eric Shinseki, FCS 
was intended to be a revolution in capability--the centerpiece in the 
Army's effort to transform itself into a lighter, more modular, and 
more deployable fighting force. Originally and erroneously executed 
under a type of contract more fitting for smaller programs, the FCS was 
supposed to develop 18 manned and unmanned ground systems, including 
sensors, robots, UAVs, and vehicles, all connected by a complicated 
mobile electronic network. When work began on this program in 2000, the 
Army estimated that the first combat units would be equipped by 2011 
and that all the Army's ground combat formations would be equipped by 
2032. The Army initially estimated the entire effort would cost about 
$160 billion.
  By 2006, independent cost estimators at the Pentagon pegged total 
procurement costs at upwards of $300 billion. And, from there, with the 
assistance of a fundamentally flawed fee structure that was not focused 
on objective results, FCS total costs kept growing. To make a long 
story short, in April 2009, then-Secretary Gates terminated most of the 
program and the problem.
  While the Army has had its problems, the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship 
is another example of a fundamentally flawed acquisition process. 
Originally conceived by former Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark as 
a revolutionary, new, affordable class of surface combatant--about the 
size of a light frigate or Coast Guard cutter--the LCS was to be able 
to conduct shallow-water and near-shore operations.
  The first two LCS contracts set the cost of the sea frame at $188 
million each. After spiking to over $730 million, the cost is now about 
$400 million per hull. In December of 2010, the Pentagon's chief tester 
gave LCS poor performance ratings, saying that ``LCS is not expected to 
be survivable in terms of maintaining a mission capability in a hostile 
combat environment.''
  I continue to be very troubled by the Navy's decision late last year 
to set aside then-pending competition and award contracts to each of 
the bidders on this program.
  The F-22 raptor program. The F-22 was supposed to maintain air 
superiority in the face of the Soviet threat during the Cold War. The 
F-22 obtained full operational capability 20 years later, well after 
the Soviet Union dissolved. When it finally emerged from its extended 
testing and development phase, the F-22 was recognized as a very 
capable tactical fighter, probably the best in the world for some time 
to come. But plagued with development and technical issues that caused 
the costs of buying to go through the roof, not only was the F-22 20 
years in the making, but the process has proved so costly that the 
Pentagon could ultimately afford only 187 of the planes rather than the 
750 it originally planned to buy. To make a long story short, the F-22 
has not flown in combat since its inception.
  The DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer was supposed to cost $1.1 
billion each. It is now expected to cost $3.5 billion each.
  The Airborne Laser effort is to be canceled. The fantastic story of 
the VH-71 new Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program was canceled 
only after it became more expensive than a full-size 747.
  What can we do?
  I know it is time for us to get on with the Defense authorization 
  We need to have transparency. We need to have accountability. We have 
to use competition to encourage industry to produce desired outcomes 
and better incentivize the acquisition workforce to do more with less. 
We have to do a lot of things. We have clearly failed to abide by the 
warning President Eisenhower issued in his speech 50 years ago, but I 
do find some comfort that times of fiscal restraint and austerity can 
drive desired change, even in the face of daunting systemic obstacles 
such as the military-industrial-congressional complex. We must do 
  Mr. President, I yield the floor. I thank my friend from Michigan for 
his indulgence.

                               Exhibit 1

                                                      U.S. Senate,

                                  Committee on Armed Services,

                                 Washington, DC, December 1, 2011.
     Hon. Leon Panetta,
     Secretary of Defense,
     Pentagon, Washington, DC.
       Dear Secretary Panetta: I was very troubled to read 
     recently in USA Today that the Air Force allowed a retired 
     general officer who was then-serving as an executive in The 
     Boeing Company to participate as a ``mentor'' in a war game 
     involving the aerial refueling tanker that Boeing was at the 
     same time competing to build for the Air Force under a 
     multibillion dollar procurement program. This, in my view, 
     warrants serious inquiry.
       According to the article, the retired general officer 
     previously served as the chief of U.S. Transportation Command 
     and Air Force

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     Mobility Command, which would have given him keen insight 
     into the Air Force's plans to replace its aerial refueling 
     tanker fleet. It appears that what this mentor did for the 
     Air Force in this case directly related to one of Boeing's 
     largest potential contracts with the Air Force. This makes 
     the story particularly alarming. No less disturbing is that 
     the Air Force apparently withheld publicly disclosing this 
     information from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request 
     for approximately two years.
       This latest revelation plainly validates my concerns that I 
     conveyed last year about the potential for conflicts-of-
     interests associated with military mentor programs. It is 
     also another example of the revolving door between the 
     Department and private industry and the prevalence of the 
     military-industrial complex in the Department's planning and 
     procurement processes, which has plagued the Air Force's 
     attempts to replace its aerial refueling tanker fleet from 
       Although there appears to be general comfort that the 
     contract for the KC-46A was awarded properly and that the 
     contracting strategy for the development of these tankers is 
     viable, whether any misconduct somehow biased the program at 
     its inception towards a particular outcome must be taken very 
       With this in mind, please answer the following questions.
       1. After the individual cited in the article, retired 
     Lieutenant General Charles Robertson, retired from the Air 
     Force, during what period of time did he serve as an advisor, 
     consultant or mentor, or in any other similar capacity, to 
     the Air Force?
       2. Describe, with specificity, General Robertson's duties, 
     responsibilities and activities while serving in the 
     foregoing capacity during this period.
       3. Identify, with specificity, what project(s) General 
     Robertson served on in the foregoing capacity, including but 
     not limited to, as a mentor.
       4. Describe, with specificity, what relationship these 
     projects had with any program or process in which Boeing had 
     a direct or indirect interest.
       5. Describe, with specificity, the activity cited in the 
     article described above (i.e., a ``war game'') and what 
     relationship, if any, that this activity had with the pending 
     Air Force program to replace its aerial refueling tanker 
       6. Describe what was happening with the Air Force's program 
     to replace its aerial refueling tanker fleet while the 
     foregoing activity was conducted.
       7. What direct or indirect input or influence did General 
     Robertson have in the outcome of the activity for which he 
     was serving as a mentor (or in any similar capacity) or the 
     overall program or process that this activity was intended to 
       8. How much per year and in total compensation was General 
     Robertson paid for his service as an advisor, consultant or 
     mentor, or in any other similar capacity, to the Air Force?
       9. Please provide a copy of his employment contract(s) with 
     the Air Force for his service in the foregoing capacity.
       10. Explain why it reportedly took two years to provide the 
     information described above where this information was 
     responsive to a properly presented FOIA request.
       11. What is the current status of the Department of 
     Defense's mentor program?
       12. If the program is still extant at all, what controls 
     are in place today that will ensure against conflicts-of-
     interests and the appearance of impropriety by its 
       Thank you for your cooperation and your attention to this 
     serious matter.
                                                      John McCain,
     Ranking Member.