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Letter


NTU Supports DoD Plan to Reduce Spending on the F/A-22 Raptor

January 3, 2005

The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

On behalf of the 350,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write to express our strong support for your reported efforts to further reduce planned spending on the F/A-22 Raptor fighter jet. As you may be aware, NTU has had serious concerns about this project for some time and we still believe that outright termination of this program would be the best option for taxpayers. However, as the New York Times recently reported, if final production levels are reduced from a currently projected 277 down to 160, taxpayers would save more than $15 billion.

The fact is that the United States already spends at levels that are adequate for protecting our national interests and our citizens. Unfortunately, since the end of the Cold War, the military has been slow in adapting to both new threats and new fiscal realities that face this nation. In that respect, we see the elimination of the F/A-22, the Crusader artillery system, and the Comanche helicopter as the first steps in transforming the military into a lighter, better, and hopefully less-costly 21st Century fighting force.

As you know, the unfortunate reality for many of these major weapons systems is that with strong advocates spread throughout the country, their political utility often outweighs their military utility. The F/A-22 is one such project, since there are more than 1,000 subcontractors located in 43 states helping to build what will be the most expensive fighter jet in world history.

NTU and its members strongly support our men and women in uniform and we believe that defending America is not merely one of the primary roles of the federal government; rather, it is the single most important role of the federal government. To that end, I want to make it clear that we support -- and are willing to pay for -- military programs that are integral to our national security. In addition to the previously mentioned Cold War programs that you have so courageously taken a stand on, I urge you to carefully examine the relevance of the Joint Strike Fighter and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

The taxpayers of America appreciate your efforts to get the most value for their hard-earned dollars and NTU looks forward to working with you in the future to keep the military strong at a reasonable cost to taxpayers.

Sincerely,

Paul J. Gessing
Director of Government Affairs