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Porkbarrel for Boeing: Senate Amendment to Keep C-17 Cargo Jet Production Line Open

November 10, 2005 


The Senate today approved by a vote of 89-8 an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would give the Pentagon authority to annually purchase at least six new C-17 cargo jets at a cost a total of roughly $1 billion - despite the fact that a new airlift requirements study concluded there is no need for the aircraft.

"This is just another gift to a defense contractor, the latest attempt by Congress to force the military to purchase weapons it doesn't even need," said POGO Senior Defense Investigator Eric Miller. "Congress is looking out for the defense industry, but not the needs of our military."

The amendment sponsors include the senators from states where the aircraft is manufactured and assembled, and where the engines are produced.

C-17 manufacturer Boeing Company has been threatening to close down its C-17 production line in 2008 if there are no new orders for the airlifter. At present, the Air Force has orders for a total of 180 C-17's.

The amendment approved today also includes an earlier provision that authorizes the purchase of 42 C-17's if there is a need. However, the revised version will allow the annual purchase of six of the aircraft even if there is no need.

The recent year-long study of airlift needs by the Senate Armed Services Committee and all military services concluded that the current fleet provides sufficient capacity to support the National Military Strategy with low and acceptable risk.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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