Authorizers agree to end F-22 program

The House and Senate Armed Services committees met on Wednesday to approve the conference report on the fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill, which boosts funding for Navy fighters and Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles and endorses the administration's request to end the F-22 Raptor fighter program, according to congressional aides.

Despite bipartisan support for many of the defense provisions in the bill, several Republicans from both committees are withholding their signatures from the conference report in opposition to the inclusion of unrelated language that extends the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

"Many of our colleagues are unhappy [with the hate crimes language] and will not sign the conference report," Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member John McCain, R-Ariz., said at a news conference. McCain strongly opposed the language but said he will sign off on the bill.

The $680 billion authorization bill is expected to pass both chambers and move to President Obama's desk in the next several days.

The final bill authorizes funding to buy 18 Super Hornet carrier-based fighter jets for the Navy -- nine more than requested. It also includes House language that allows the Navy to pursue a multiyear purchase deal on the fighters, as well as a $108 million down payment for more Super Hornets in fiscal 2011.

In addition, the bill authorizes $6.7 billion for MRAPs -- $1.2 billion above the request to fully fund the military's requirement for the all-terrain versions now deploying to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the bill authorizes only $216 million of the $427 million requested to terminate the manned ground vehicle portion of the Army's Future Combat Systems, an $87 billion effort that Defense Secretary Robert Gates determined did not take into account lessons learned after eight years of war.

"Given that there are unspent fiscal 2009 funds from the FCS program, the committee believes $216 million in fiscal 2010 is sufficient to cover the termination costs," according to a summary of the agreement. The $211 million cut is smaller than the cuts proposed in both the House and Senate versions of the authorization measure.

In terms of shipbuilding, the authorization bill includes a provision that would help the Navy implement its dramatic restructuring of the Littoral Combat Ship program. At the Navy's request, it authorizes a block buy for the next 10 ships -- a contract mechanism that essentially would commit the service to buy two ships in fiscal 2010, with options for more purchases in future years.

As expected, the bill does not authorize funds for more F-22s. The House-passed bill included a $369 million down payment to buy 12 F-22s next year, but Obama and Gates persuaded lawmakers over the last several months to end the program at the 187 fighters already ordered.

After Wednesday's conference meeting, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he does not expect the bill's $560 million authorization for continued development of a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to become veto bait. The White House has said it would veto the measure if the engine program "seriously disrupts" the F-35 program.

Levin pointed out that the conference agreement authorizes funding for all 30 F-35s the administration sought for fiscal 2010. The House bill had authorized money for only 28 F-35s to pay for the second engine.

"It's hard to imagine them vetoing an authorization bill when we don't impact the program negatively," Levin said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.