October 20, 2017

ACCOUNTABILITY, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG: B-21 cost info to stay secret despite new Air Force leadership.

Air Force leaders claim that the B-21 program is going swimmingly and has remained on budget and on schedule. Earlier this year, Gen. Stephen Wilson, the Air Force’s vice chief of staff, told lawmakers it had recently completed its preliminary design review.

The service plans to buy at least 100 Raiders — although that number could change as a result of the Trump administration’s defense strategy review and the Air Force’s bomber road map — at a price of about $550 million (in 2010 dollars) per copy.

The engineering and manufacturing development phase is being carried out under a separate, cost-plus contract that is estimated to amount to about $21.4 billion.

“The program is on track,” Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the service’s top uniformed acquisition official, said Tuesday. “What I will say is that we are marching to the acquisition program baseline timelines that we’ve established, and we don’t have anything … that has risen to a red flag.”

I’d be willing to cut the Air Force more slack if they had a procurement history showing that they’d earned it.

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