US to 'fight' for defence procurement reforms

18 August 2009

19 August 2009 | Jake Kanter

The US aims to cut waste in defence procurement and increase spending on equipment for operational troops.

In a speech at a war veteran's conference in Arizona this week, President Barack Obama unveiled plans to scrap a number of defence projects to save the government "billions of dollars", which can then be more effectively spent elsewhere.

He said the government is spending a significant amount on an alternate second engine for the fleet of new Joint Strike Fighters, "when one reliable engine will do just fine".

He added: "Nearly $2 billion (£1.2 billion) to buy more F-22 fighter jets, when we can move ahead with a fleet of newer, more affordable aircraft. Tens of billions of dollars to put an anti-missile laser on a fleet of vulnerable 747s."

He again criticised the purchase of a new presidential helicopter, which earlier this year he referred to as a "procurement process gone amok" (Web story, 24 February).

"Among its other capabilities, it would let me cook a meal while under nuclear attack. Now, let me tell you something, if the United States of America is under nuclear attack, the last thing on my mind will be whipping up a snack."

Obama concluded: "This is pretty straightforward - cut the waste. Save taxpayer dollars. Support the troops. The special interests, contractors, and entrenched lobbyists - they're invested in the status quo and they're putting up a fight. But make no mistake, so are we."


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