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Senator Warns Defense Contractors On Cost Overruns

By | August 21, 2006

      HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) blasted defense contractors for cost overruns on weapons acquisition programs.

      Sessions, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and chairman of its strategic forces subcommittee, made his remarks before the 2006 Space and Missile Defense Conference, where the audience of hundreds included many senior officials of contracting firms, and many top Pentagon officials running procurement programs.

      “The bigger the program … the more overruns there are,” Sessions said. “We’ve had too many programs that are way over budget.”

      He argued that if costs are contained, the money saved won’t disappear, but instead would go into new programs, meaning more contracts for defense firms.

      Sessions predicted that Congress is poised to pressure Pentagon flag officers and other leaders to curb program costs.

      The senator also said he is foursquare behind the Ground-based Missile Defense ballistic missile shield program.

      One positive factor, Sessions said, is that members of Congress seem more willing to support ballistic missile defense programs in the face of North Korean missile launches last month.

      On other points:

      • He said the United States must continue to dominate space, barring enemies from using the final frontier against American forces.

      • There must be a ground-based ballistic missile site established in Europe to provide a shield for Western nations against enemy missiles.

      • Iran must be forced to know that the United States and European allies will be able to kill any missile that Iran launches against them, and such allied efforts to erect a shield must be funded.

      • It was a disappointment that the Senate didn’t provide funding for the “prompt local strike” program. This could involve firing conventional-weapon missiles from Navy submarines, providing a fast response to take down fleeting targets over a wide swath of the globe.

      On that last point, Sessions rejected concerns of some lawmakers, “nervousness that [firing] a missile from a submarine would cause” World War III, or whatever the next huge conflict might be called.

      “We’re not going to start World War III if one missile gets launched” from a submarine, he said.

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