Editor’s Note: Not to sound like a broken record, but the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain, has taken it upon himself to send another barrage in the direction of Air Force Senior Leadership. This time he’s upset about the Air Force keeping the cost of the B-21 program under wraps. The Air Force says it’s keeping the figures classified to prevent ne’er-do-well actors from connecting the dots. This is another skirmish between McCain and the Air Force over the LRS-B; he’s already pledged to block funding for the program under the current cost-plus contract structure.
Sen. John McCain is taking a new tack in his crusade against the Air Force’s B-21, slamming the service’s decision to keep the new bomber’s cost under wraps.
“You are not serving the nation, the taxpayers, they don’t know how much of their taxpayer dollars are being spent,” McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, chided top Air Force officials during a March 8 hearing of the Airland subcommittee. “You and I have a very different view of our obligation to the taxpayers.”
McCain hammered Lt. Gen. Arnie Bunch, the Air Force’s deputy assistant secretary for acquisition, on the secrecy surrounding the B-21, which is expected to cost $100 billion over the life of the program. The American people have a right to know precisely how many of their dollars will go toward the bomber, McCain argued.
“Why would you not want to tell the American people how you are going to spend their dollars?” McCain asked, interrupting Bunch multiple times. “ Why shouldn’t the average citizen know the cost of a whatever — how many tens of billions of dollars — 80 to 100 billion dollar program? Shouldn’t the taxpayers know that?”
Bunch defended the Air Force’s decision to keep certain details about the B-21 classified, arguing that the decision not release the exact cost of the aircraft is an attempt to prevent hostile actors from connecting the dots.
McCain’s criticism took on almost a mocking tone at points, as he slammed Bunch’s explanation.
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(Featured photo by REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)