MN-02 : Kline Faces Another War Challenge

John Kline (R-MN-02) as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, plays a significant role in our planning for war.

The threat is known … Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has stated : “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt“. Pentagon needs to cut back on spending and Adm. Mullen has said “We’re going to have to do that if it’s going to survive at all.”

The enemy is known … Congress.

The battles have been JSF, EVF, and the latest MEADS.

Mr. Kline has been a longtime support of the alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter as he had 75 lobbyists telling him that we needed to add to the national debt to pay for this additional engine … even though President Bush did not want it … nor the Pentagon … Mr. Kline always voted to expend the funds adding to our national debt … but when the Stop Work Order was finally issued Mr. Kline was eerily silent despite this being a victory for taxpayers.

When the Pentagon wanted to cancel General Dynamics’s $15.5 billion Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program, Mr. Kline did not leap to fight for the Department of Defense but instead saidThis is going to be pretty contentious.

Now, the latest gauntlet to be thrown down is over funding for Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) … and the thrower is someone familiar to Mr. Kline … his friends at the Citizens Against Government Waste.
They have done battle before … specifically over JSF … yet Mr. Kline stated CAGW endorsement for the 2010 campaign (even though no formal endorsement was found, thus resulting in the conclusion that “IF CAWG endorses Mr. Kline, it would make their endorsement a farce.”)

Tom Schatz, the president of Citizens Against Government Waste, has written an OpEd and these are the highlights :

Republicans campaigned in 2010 to reduce the deficit by cutting spending.
While the Republicans’ initial plan excluded defense, defense covers nearly two-thirds of all discretionary spending.
The U.S. has already spent $1.9 billion on design and development of the MEADS program which has been plagued with total program cost overruns of $2 billion. It is now 10 years behind schedule.
An internal U.S. Army memo, which The Washington Post reported last March, stated that the program “will not meet U.S. requirements or address the current and emerging threat without extensive and costly modifications.”

Translation: It’s sure to cost a lot more than $16.5 billion.

The OpEd goes on to cite various GAO and CBO reports that illustrate the programs failings.

In many ways, MEADS is following the same path as the alternate JSF engine and EVF.

So what will Mr. Kline do … will he heed Adm. Mullen’s warning, accept the advice of CAGW, and terminate the MEADS program …. or will he wait for instructions from the lobbyists ?

For an answer, let’s wait for Lockheed Martin which leads MEADS International, the industry team developing the system to puts it’s money where it’s mouth is … after all, Lockheed Martin has been a major benefactor of Mr. Kline’s votes … heck, as the largest federal contractor, Lockheed Martin, received contracts worth more than the total combined budgets of the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Congress.
All told, NASA and the Defense Department account for roughly 80 percent of Lockheed Martin’s annual sales and they are not opposed to making campaign donations to any member of Congress that will help their cause.

So, Mr. Kline, will you lead America in it’s battle with the national debt by strictly attacking Pell Grants and changing Medicare as we know it, or will you apply the same vigor to Defense spending ?

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