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Promising the Sky: Pork Barrel Politics and the F-35 Combat Aircraft

January 22, 2014 | Report

By William D. Hartung

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Executiv­­e Summary

 Lockheed Martin claims that the development and construction of the F-35 combat aircraft sustains 125,000 jobs in 46 states.  The company describes the F-35 as “the single largest job creator in the Department of Defense program.”  Lockheed Martin’s numbers have been routinely reported in the media, and have become a mainstay of the debate over the fate of the F-35 program.

There’s just one problem with Lockheed Martin’s assertions about F-35 job creation.  They are greatly exaggerated, as documented in this report:

  • Lockheed Martin’s claim of 125,000 F-35-related jobs is roughly double the likely number of jobs sustained by the program.  The real figure, based on standard estimating procedures used in other studies in the field, should be on the order of 50,000 to 60,000 jobs.
  • Similarly, the company’s claim that there is significant work being done on the F-35 in 46 states does not hold up to scrutiny.  Even by Lockheed Martin’s own estimates, just two states – Texas and California – account for over half of the jobs generated by the F-35.  The top five states, which include Florida, Connecticut and New Hampshire – account for 70% of the jobs (see appendix Table 2 for further details).
  • Eleven states have fewer than a dozen F-35-related jobs, a figure so low that it is a serious stretch to count them among the 46 states doing significant work on the program.  These states are Iowa, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Delaware, Nebraska, North Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana and Wyoming.
  • This study identifies 138 major F-35 contractors operating in 231 separate locations.  Well over half of the contractors identified – 88 – were foreign companies conducting F-35 work outside of the United States.  This does not necessarily indicate that a majority of the work on the plane is being done overseas, but it does suggest substantial outsourcing of F-35 work (for details see appendix tables 3 and 4).  Countries with the most identified production sites include Italy (36), Australia (30), the United Kingdom (24) and Turkey (12).  The United Kingdom is the largest participant in terms of sheer amount of production, but the work is concentrated in fewer sites than in some other countries mentioned.
  • There is also evidence indicating that Northrop Grumman and Honeywell have used or produced F-35 components in China – including specialized magnets and sensor components – in violation of U.S. laws banning the use of Chinese parts in U.S. defense equipment.  The companies assert that they have stopped using Chinese parts, but this issue will bear watching as production of the F-35 moves forward.
  • The four most important F-35 contractors – Lockheed Martin ($4.1 million), BAE Systems ($1.4 million), Northrop Grumman ($3.5 million), and United Technologies, the parent company of F-35 engine-maker Pratt and Whitney  ($2.1 million) – have made a total of $11.1 in campaign contributions in the 2011/2012 and 2013/2014 election cycles.  The vast majority of these contributions have gone to key members of the armed services or defense appropriations committees in the House and Senate, or to members of the 39-member House F-35 caucus.
  • The top five recipients of contributions from F-35 contractors in the past two election cycles are House Armed Services Chair Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, $218,650; F-35 Caucus co-chair Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), $195,950; Rep. Mac Fortenberry (R-TX), $162,500; F-35 Caucus co-chair John Larson (D-CT), $137,450; and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), $85,000 (for further details see Appendix Table 5).

Given the uncertainties surrounding the F-35 program, which has been identified as a possible budget-cutting target by a wide range of non-governmental and governmental bodies, it makes sense for communities that are looking to the F-35 as an important part of their economic futures to develop fallback plans that can be implemented in the event of the cancellation or scaling back of the F-35 program. States like Connecticut – home of the Pratt and Whitney division of United Technologies, which builds the engine for the F-35 – have taken the lead in this area by establishing their own transition commissions to develop strategies to diversify their economies (for a list of organizations that have recommended scaling back or canceling the F-35 program see footnote 21). 

Introduction: Promises, Promises

“Powering Job Creation for America and Its Allies” – so says the headline of Lockheed Martin’s web site for its F-35 combat aircraft.  According to the company, the program – which if fully funded will cost an estimated $1.5 trillion to build and operate over its lifetime – will not only provide for the common defense but it will also deliver “tens of thousands of high paying, high quality jobs to American workers across the country, and around the world.”[1] The company’s claim about F-35 job creation sounds impressive indeed:

                      According to standard industry accepted forecasting, the multi-role 5th generation stealth fighter is responsible for more than 125,000 direct and indirect jobs, making it the single largest job generator in the Department of Defense program budget.[2]

Lockheed Martin has widely promoted the notion of the F-35 program as an unparalleled job creation machine, in advertisements, in fact sheets distributed to Congress, and in an online interactive map. 

The claims about the F-35 as a job generator are an argument of last resort for a program that has been plagued by cost overruns, performance problems, and questions about how many are needed in a world in which aerial combat between rival fighter planes seems like an increasingly obsolete form of warfare.[3]

The debate about cost, capabilities, and strategic need will continue, but if past history is any guide, the fate of the plane may well hinge on the ability of the Air Force and the company’s contractors to sell Congress and the public on the value of the F-35 as an economic development program.  If so, it wouldn’t be the first time that pork barrel politics trumped national security priorities in weapons procurement decision making.  Given that fact, it is important to assess the accuracy of the economic claims that are being made on behalf of the F-35.  How large will its economic impact be, and how does it compare to other uses of the same money?

Do the F-35 Job Claims Hold Up?

As noted above, Lockheed Martin asserts that its claim of 125,000 jobs created by the F-35 program is derived from standard industry forecasting methods.  But a quick look at other studies in the field calls this assertion into question.

The standard method for estimating the job impact of a given form of spending is called input/output analysis.  This approach looks at three types of jobs generated by a given activity: 1) Direct jobs involved in the building of the product (for example, assembling the F-35); 2) Indirect jobs created at companies that supply materials and services (“inputs”) that go into producing the item; and 3) Induced jobs, which are the jobs created when workers in categories one and two spend their wages (for example, workers at an arms factory buying lunch at a local restaurant).[4]  For shorthand, some accounts – including Lockheed Martin’s – simply refer to “indirect” and “induced” jobs as one category, indirect jobs. 

The ratio of direct jobs to total jobs in the Lockheed Martin estimate far exceeds the ratio suggested by other studies in the field.  Lockheed Martin claims that the 125,000 jobs created by the F-35 include 32,500 direct jobs and 92,500 indirect jobs. So the 125,000 total jobs are nearly four times the 32,500 figure for direct jobs (3.85, to be exact).  By contrast, a 2011 analysis by Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier of the University of Massachusetts estimates total jobs per billion dollars generated by Pentagon spending at 11,200, with 6,800 of those being direct jobs.  That puts total jobs at 1.6 times direct jobs, far lower than Lockheed Martin’s figure of 3.85.  Even an Aerospace Industries Association-funded study by Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason University suggests a ratio of direct to total jobs that is considerably less than the figure used by Lockheed Martin in its study.5

Applying the less generous ratio from the University of Massachusetts study to the figure of 32,500 direct jobs would put total jobs generated by the F-35 program in the range of 50,000 to 60,000 jobs, or less than half the 125,000 jobs claimed by Lockheed Martin.  The number of F-35 jobs per state claimed in Lockheed Martin materials would come down by more than one-half as well.  The distribution of the reductions is hard to specify without knowing more about how Lockheed Martin came up with its numbers.

Ultimately, Lockheed Martin’s numbers cannot be considered credible unless the methodology that produced them is made transparent.

Where the Jobs Are: Geographic Spread and Pork Barrel Politics

From a political standpoint, the number of jobs generated by a project is only half of the story.  It is equally important to know where the jobs are located.  Spreading contracts around to as many states and Congressional Districts as possible and making sure that districts of key members of Congress receive a healthy slice of the contracting pie are time-tested methods for generating broad political support for a weapons program.  That’s why Lockheed Martin has asserted that the F-35 program supports 125,000 jobs in 46 states.  But just as the company has exaggerated the total number of jobs generated by the program, it has also exaggerated the geographic reach of work on the program.  This will be discussed in more detail below.

Lockheed Martin has a long history of attempting to parlay the geographic spread of its contracts and sub-contracts into budgetary clout.  For example, in the early 1970s, when the company was seeking a government loan guarantee to stave off bankruptcy, company CEO Daniel Haughton cited an alleged 34,000 jobs in 35 states generated by its L-1011 aircraft, a troubled airliner that was a central to the company’s survival.[5]  When the Senate vote on the loan guarantees came down to the deciding vote – it won by 49-48 – Sen. Lee Metcalf  (D-MT) switched to the pro-Lockheed side because, he said, “I’m not going to be the one putting those thousands of people out of work.”[6]

But the jobs argument doesn’t always carry the day.  For example, in the case of its F-22 Raptor, Lockheed Martin repeatedly asserted that the aircraft would generate 95,000 jobs in 44 states – a substantial exaggeration, but an excellent talking point.  Lockheed Martin used the argument that there were F-22 jobs virtually everywhere to gain the signatures of 44 Senators and 200 members of the House of Representatives on a letter urging the Obama administration to continue funding the plane.  But when push came to shove the company lost the battle to keep the F-22 program alive. The bipartisan coalition in the Senate that defeated it included everyone from Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and committee ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to deficit hawk and Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who has since left Congress to run the Heritage Foundation.  While a number of prominent liberals with significant F-22 work in their states – including Democratic Senators like Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California and Patty Murray of Washington State – voted to extend the program, their influence was counter-balanced by no votes by deficit hawks like DeMint, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.).[7]  A similar left-right coalition – spearheaded by Florida Republican Rep. Tom Rooney – killed General Electric’s proposed alternative engine for the F-35, despite the fact that it would have been built in Ohio and was supported by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).[8]

As was the case with the F-22, the most vocal Congressional advocates of high funding levels for the F-35 are members with significant work being done in their districts.  For example, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), who has Lockheed Martin’s final assembly plant for the F-35 in her Fort Worth area district, co-chairs the 39-member F-35 caucus (for a list of caucus members, see Appendix Table 1).  The other co-chair, Democratic Rep. John Larson of Connecticut, represents the district where Pratt and Whitney builds the engines for the F-35.  Nearly one-third of the caucus membership (12 of 39) is composed of members from the state of Texas, where the primary assembly of the F-35 is done.[9]  And when Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) joined the caucus in September 2013, he specifically cited the role of the Tulsa location of Ducommun LaBarge Technologies – which makes electronic components for the F-35 – as a reason for joining.[10]

A number of F-35 caucus members hold key positions that are particularly useful for promoting spending on the aircraft.  Eleven caucus members serve on the House Armed Services Committee, and two – including caucus co-chair Kay Granger (R-TX) – serve on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee (for further details see Appendix Table 1).

Outside of the F-35 caucus, the most important F-35 supporter by far is House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), who has a plant in his district that does F-35 work.  He has received over three-quarters of a million dollars in campaign contributions from Pentagon contractors in the last three election cycles, and his top donors include Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, both major F-35 contractors.[11]

As extensive as the membership of the F-35 caucus may be – 39 members from 15 states – it represents members from less than one-third of the 46 states in which Lockheed Martin claims there is work being done on the F-35.  If production work on the F-35 is so widely spread, why aren’t representatives from more states part of the caucus?  Because work on the F-35 is in fact highly concentrated, with many states receiving minimal benefits, even according to Lockheed Martin’s own exaggerated claims. 

According to Lockheed Martin’s own analysis, the top five states receiving the most jobs from work on the Joint Strike Fighter – Texas (32.5%), California (19.75%), Florida (7.66%), Connecticut (6.87%) and New Hampshire (4.67%) – account for over 70% of the jobs generated by the F-35.  Texas and California alone account for over 50% of F-35 jobs (see Appendix Table 2).

On the other end of the scale, the bottom 11 states – Iowa, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Delaware, Nebraska, North Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana and Wyoming – have 12 or fewer jobs each stemming from work on the F-35 or its components.  Counting these 12 states as part of the “46 states” with significant work on the F-35 is misleading.  And this doesn’t even account for the fact that Lockheed Martin’s overall estimate for F-35-related jobs nationwide is probably at least twice the actual figure, which means that the numbers for each state should also be significantly lower than Lockheed Martin’s estimates.  

  Who Makes the F-35?

While Lockheed Martin is quick to claim that its work on the F-35 is widely dispersed among a vast network of sub-contractors in the United States, its promotional materials identify only a handful of the U.S. firms involved in the program, including BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and the Pratt and Whitney division of United Technologies.

On the other hand, in our report we have identified 138 top contractors for the F-35 working in 233 separate locations, with descriptions of the nature of the work performed where possible (for full details, see Appendix Table 3).  Interestingly, nearly two-thirds of the contractors identified – 88 – are doing work overseas, in partner nations that include the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey.  Similarly, over half of the work locations identified in our report – 123 – are outside the United States (see Appendix Tables 3 and 4). 

Since our report is based on public records but is not a systematic sampling, the contractor count doesn’t automatically mean that there is more F-35 work being done overseas than in the United States, but it is evidence of substantial outsourcing of F-35 production.  Lockheed Martin has been downplaying this substantial foreign content in its appeals to Congress and the U.S. public regarding the number of F-35 jobs there will be in the United States.

It should be noted that the companies and locations identified in our report – whether foreign or domestic – are all involved in building significant components of the plane.  In this respect they are far more critical – and account for far more jobs – than the lower level subcontractors that Lockheed Martin claims as part of its F-35 supply chain.  Our accounting is a good approximation of the major work sites involved in producing the F-35.

For production in the United States, the top five states with the largest number of identified locations involved in F-35 work are California (24), New York (9), Ohio (8), Texas (7), and Florida (6). These states account for over one-half of the U.S. F-35 locations enumerated in this report.   Other than the case of California, the number of companies identified as doing F-35 work does not correlate with Lockheed Martin’s claims as to the number of jobs in each state.  This is because some locations involve relatively few jobs while others – like the primary final assembly facility for the F-35 in Fort Worth, Texas employ thousands doing F-35 work – over 6,000 people in Fort Worth, to be more precise.[12]  (See table 4 for additional details on contractors by state and country).

But as noted above, this research project actually identified more foreign companies involved in building major components of the F-35 than it did domestic ones. The substantial foreign production involved in the F-35 program is by design.  Each of the original nine partner nations (see footnote for full list) in the program agreed to contribute funding during the R&D phase of the project in exchange for a role in producing the plane and early access to F-35s as they come off of the production line.[13]  Other F-35 buyers like Japan, Israel, and South Korea will also receive some work on the plane in connection with their prospective purchases.  For example, in exchange for an order of just 40 planes, Lockheed Martin has promised to help South Korea develop a military communications satellite; to aid in South Korea’s development of its own indigenous fighter plane, currently designated the K-X; and to help build a cyber-warfare training center.[14] And in Japan, Mitsubishi Industries is building a Final Assembly and Checkout facility (FACO) that will assemble 38 of the 42 F-35’s the country is currently slated to purchase.[15]

While an exact breakdown of international work on the F-35 is not available, some of the major projects are widely known.  In addition to the South Korean and Japanese examples cited above, Italy is slated to host a final assembly and checkout (FACO) facility.  BAE Systems of the United Kingdom – far and away the most important non-U.S. partner in the project – will produce the aft fuselage and tails for the F-35 as well as significant avionics and electronic warfare components.  In terms of numbers of work locations identified, the top country was Italy (36) followed by Australia (30), the United Kingdom (24), Turkey (12) and the Netherlands (7).  As with the breakdowns by state within the United States, the number of locations identified doesn’t tell the full story.  BAE’s work on the aft fuselage and tails of the F-35 creates many more jobs than any other single location outside of the United States, but the number of major contractors identified in the UK is less than in Italy or Australia.  The figures for Italy may be more representative of the scope of work going on there, since Lockheed Martin has stated that “the vast majority of the Italian defense industry” is involved in the development and production of the F-35.[16]

There is also evidence indicating that Northrop Grumman and Honeywell have used or produced F-35 components in China – including specialized magnets and sensor components – in violation of U.S. laws banning the use of Chinese parts in U.S. defense equipment.  The companies assert that they have stopped using Chinese parts, but this issue will bear watching as production of the F-35 moves forward.[17]

Buying Influence: Campaign Contributions by F-35 Contractors

In addition to mustering support from members of Congress by capitalizing on the locations of F-35 work, contractors on the project attempt to buy access and influence by making generous campaign contributions to key members of Congress.  The four most important F-35 contractors – Lockheed Martin ($4.1 million), BAE Systems ($1.4 million), Northrop Grumman ($3.5 million), and United Technologies,  the parent company of F-35 engine-maker Pratt and Whitney  ($2.1 million) – have made a total of $11.1 in campaign contributions in the 2011/2012 and 2013/2014 election cycles, the vast majority to key members of the armed services or defense appropriations committees in the House and Senate, or to members with F-35 work being carried out in their states or districts.[18]  The biggest recipient of donations from these four firms during the past two election cycles has been House Armed Services Committee chair Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), with $218,650 in contributions.  His top contributor in the current cycle has been Northrop Grumman, at $28,700; and his top contributor in the 2011/2012 cycle was F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin, at $75,700.[19]

Lockheed Martin and its allies have also been thinking ahead.  F-35 contractors have been strong financial supporters of Rep. Mac Fortenberry (R-TX), who may take over as chair of the House Armed Services Committee if Rep. McKeon retires at the end of 2014.  Fortenberry has received $162,500 from ten different F-35 contractors in the past two election cycles, led by Northrop Grumman ($32,500), Honeywell ($32,000) and Lockheed Martin ($25,000).[20]   

In addition to focusing on committee leaders like Rep. McKeon and Rep. Fortenberry, F-35 contractors gave generously to members of the F-35 caucus.  The 39 current members of the caucus have received over $1.7 million from F-35 contractors in the last two election cycles – not just from the top four contractors mentioned above but from other key suppliers, including Alliant Techsystems, Elbit, Finmeccanica, Harris, Honeywell, L-3 Communications, Raytheon, and Rolls Royce.  The caucus members receiving the highest levels of contributions from F-35 contractors were caucus co-chair Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), $195,950; caucus co-chair Rep. John Larson (D-CT), $137,450; Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), $85,000; Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), $84,500; and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), $75,800 (see Appendix Table 5).

Facing Reality: Promises Versus Prospects

While Lockheed Martin has greatly exaggerated the national, regional and local economic impacts of F-35 production, there is no question that some areas receive substantial income and employment from work related to the plane.  But communities dependent upon F-35 funding for part of their business base should bear in mind that there are no guarantees that the program will get as much money or last as long as current projections by Lockheed Martin and the Air Force suggest.  A series of non-governmental organizations from across the political spectrum have suggested eliminating or scaling back the F-35 program as one way to address the federal deficit, as have governmental analyses from the Congressional Budget Office and the Pentagon’s Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR).[21]

It should be no surprise that the F-35 shows up on so many cut lists. At $1.5 trillion to procure and operate over its lifetime, it is the most expensive weapons program ever undertaken by the Pentagon. And it is slated to consume an average of $12.6 billion per year in procurement and development costs for over two decades, through 2037.[22]  That’s a large sum by any standard, and it will be particularly hard to meet at the same time that the Air Force is buying a costly new aerial refueling tanker and developing a new strategic bomber that could cost at least $55 billion for development and procurement alone.[23]

But cost is not the only problem with the F-35.  It has exhibited serious performance problems at this stage of its development, from software issues to problems with the high-tech helmet that is supposed to feed essential information to the pilot.  Perhaps more importantly, there is reason to believe that the F-35 might be less capable than current generation aircraft in a number of crucial respects.  A RAND Corporation study has asserted that the F-35 has “inferior acceleration, inferior climb, and inferior sustained turn capability,” or, in short hand, it “can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run.”[24]

The F-35’s problems have led the Congressional Budget Office to offer up a proposal for cancelling the program as one of the options it has presented to Congress in its annual volume on how to reduce the deficit.  The CBO estimates that replacing the F-35 with upgraded Lockheed Martin F-16s and Boeing F/A-18s would save $48 billion between FY 2014 and FY 2023.  It notes that while this option would reduce the stealth capabilities of the fighter force, those could be made up for with stealthy unmanned systems, long-range stealth bombers, or with a new aircraft design that lacks the drawbacks of the F-35.  Most importantly, the CBO notes that “new F-16s and F/A-18s would be sufficiently advanced – if equipped with upgraded modern radar, precision weapons, and digital communications – to meet the threats the United States is likely to face in the foreseeable future.”[25]

Switching from the F-35 to F-16s and F/A-18s would also offset some of the potential job losses associated with canceling the F-35.  And, by keeping both Boeing and Lockheed Martin in the fighter plane business, it would preclude the development of the Lockheed Martin monopoly in this sector that would result if current F-35 plans go forward.

Given these realities, it makes sense for communities that are looking to the F-35 as an important part of their economic futures to develop fallback plans that can be implemented in the event of the cancellation or scaling back of the F-35 program.  At the federal level, the Office of Economic Adjustment at the Pentagon offers assistance to states and localities in developing diversification plans that can help generate alternative economic activity in the event of a cancellation of a program of particular importance to that area’s economic health.[26]  And states like Connecticut – home of the Pratt and Whitney division of United Technologies, which builds the engine for the F-35 – have established their own transition commissions to develop strategies to diversify their economies. 

The Connecticut body – the Connecticut Commission on Business Opportunity, Defense Diversification, and Industrial Policy – or, in shorthand, the Commission on Connecticut’s Future – includes legislators, state officials, and representatives of science, business and labor organizations.[27]  Discussions are under way in other states – including North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin – on setting up similar commissions.  There is much more that can be done at the state and federal level, from providing job training assistance to displaced workers to investing in activities like infrastructure and alternative energy that can serve as alternative sources of jobs.[28]  And given that Pentagon spending is virtually the worst job creator of any action the federal government can take, it would not take a dollar-for-dollar replacement of defense spending reductions with new public investments to replace the number of jobs eliminated by the cancellation of a program like the F-35.[29]  This is especially true, if as noted above, the F-35 is replaced with less expensive systems like the F-16 and F/A-18, which will create alternative jobs in the defense sector itself.

So, the bottom line is that the F-35 creates fewer jobs and affects fewer communities than Lockheed Martin and the other producers of the aircraft claim, and that with advance planning, alternative sources of employment can be generated in the defense and civilian sectors to offset any job losses the cancellation of the F-35 may cause.  The key to managing the transition from F-35 jobs to other forms of employment is to plan ahead at the federal, state and local level and to look at other forms of public investment that can fill the gap left by the termination or scaling back of the F-35 program.  This means that Congress and the Executive Branch can feel free to debate the future of the F-35 based on its strategic merits, not pork barrel politics.

[1] Even allowing for the Pentagon’s recent claims of a modest $4 billion drop in total procurement costs for the F-35 program – from $395.7 billion to $391.2 billion – total lifetime costs for the program come out to $1.5 trillion. See Andrea Shalal-Esa, “U.S. Sees First Drop in F-35 Costs; Other Programs Steady,” Reuters, May 23, 2013, available at And Pentagon and Air Force claims of reductions in long-term operating costs for the F-35 appear to be based largely upon arbitrary assumptions, as noted in Giovanni di Briganti, “Lower F-35 Operating Costs Should be Taken with a Grain of Salt,”, available at

[2] “F-35 Lightning II Economic Impact,” Lockheed Martin web site, available at

[3] For a good overview of problems with the F-35, see Winslow Wheeler, “The Jet That Ate The Pentagon,”, April 26, 2012, available at

[4] For a discussion of the concepts of direct, indirect, and induced jobs see Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier, “The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update,” Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, December 11, 2011, p. 4.  Available at

[5] Hearings Before the Senate Committee on Banking and Urban Affairs, on “Emergency Loan Guarantee Legislation,” part 1, Washington, DC, June 7-16, 1971, p. 24.

[6] David E. Rosenbaum, “Lockheed Vote Was the Center of Battle of Lobbyists,” New York Times, August 8, 1971.

[7] For a more detailed analysis of the fight over funding for the F-22, see Chapter 1, “The Rise and Fall of the Raptor,” in William D. Hartung, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex (New York: Nation Books 2012), pp. 1-18.  The Senate roll call vote on whether or not to extend the F-22 program is detailed here:

[8] Merrill Goozner and Jennifer Depaul, “House Kills F-35 Jet Engine Backed by Boehner,” Fiscal Times, February 16, 2011.

[9] For the original roster of members of the Joint Strike Fighter caucus see “Granger, Dicks, Announce Joint Strike Fighter Caucus,” November 9, 2011, available at  The original caucus co-chair Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), is no longer in the Congress.  As noted above, his position as co-chair has been taken by Rep. John Larson (D-CT).

[10]   “Congressman Jim Bridenstine Joins F-35 Caucus,” press release, September 5, 2013, available at

[11] See profile of Buck McKeon in the Center for Responsive Politics’ “Open Secrets” data base, available at

[12] In a local news article about possible nationwide furloughs, the 6,000 figure for employees working on the F-35 in Fort Worth was cited: Yamil Berard and Steve Kaskovich, “Lockheed Martin to Furlough 3,000 Workers in the U.S.,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, October 4, 2013, available at:

[13] The original nine partner nations for the F-35 program include the United States plus Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, available at

[14] Ju-Min Park and Joyce Lee, “South Korea to Buy 40 Lockheed F-35s, Further 20 Jets Still Open,” Reuters, November 22, 2103, available at

[15] Aaron Mehta, “Lockheed, Mitsubishi Sign F-35 FACO Deal,” Defense News, June 21, 2013, available at

[16] Lockheed Martin, “F-35 Italy – Industrial Participation,” available at


[17] John Shiffman and Andrea Shalal-esa, “U.S. Waived Laws to Keep F-35 on Track with China-made Parts,” Reuters, January 3, 2014; and Agence France-Presse, “U.S. Probes Honeywell Over F-35 Sensor Made in China,” run in Defense News, January 13, 2014.

[18] Data on campaign contributions is from the Open Secrets database maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.  The Center’s figures include contributions by company Political Action Committees (PACs) and individuals associated with the company in question.  Contributions by major companies are most easily accessed via the following page:

[20] Contribution data are taken from the Center for Responsive Politics’ “Open Secrets” web site.  Figures include both direct contributions to the members’ campaigns and contributions to their Leadership PACs, which are used to donate to other members in an effort to increase the political leverage of the member operating the Leadership PAC.

[21] Non-governmental organizations that have at one time or another suggested cutting or canceling the F-35 as one approach to addressing the deficit include : the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Cato Institute, the Center for American Progress, the Center for a New American Security, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Domenici-Rivlin debt reduction task force, the National Taxpayers Union, the Project on Government Oversight, R Street, the Sustainable Defense Task Force, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and the Task Force for a Unified Security Budget.  Some organizations have not so much advocated the end of the F-35 program as pointed out that it might have to be terminated under certain budgetary scenarios.  For example, a joint report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Center for a New American Security and the American Enterprise Institute stated that “If the Pentagon decided to meet sequester requirements by preserving force structure, without accepting reductions in readiness or the civilian work force, the Joint Strike Fighter program would have to be canceled.” See Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, “Think Tanks: Cancelling F-35 Among SCMR Options,” August 5, 2013, available at

[22] Figures are from a Government Accountability Office analysis of Department of Defense data, cited in Winslow Wheeler, “F-35 Price Fixing: On Final Approach to Fighter Fiscal Sanity,” Time magazine’s “Battleland” blog, June 7, 2013, available at   The article is part of a five-part analysis of F-35 costs.

[23] On the costs of the new bomber, see David Axe, “Will the $55 Billion Bomber Program Fly,” Center for Public Integrity, March 26, 2012, available at

[24] Cited in Nick Schwellenbach, “Cancel the Flawed F-35 and Free Up Billions for Better Aircraft and Domestic Needs,” Center for Effective Government, September 10, 2013, available at  Schwellenbach’s piece offers a succinct overview of the problems with the F-35, as does Winslow Wheeler in “The Jet That Ate the Pentagon,”,  September 4, 2012, available at

[25]  Congressional Budget Office, “Options for Reducing the Deficit,” November 13, 2013, available at

[26] For more on the Pentagon’s Office of Economic Adjustment, see Institute for Policy Studies, “New Tools for Defense Community Transition,” available at

[27] See “An Act Concerning the Commission on Connecticut’s Future,” available at

[28] For a comprehensive analysis of existing and proposed solutions to the defense transition problem, see Miriam Pemberton, “Framework for Defense Transition Assistance,” Institute for Policy Studies, 2013, available at

[29] See Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier, op. cit., note 3.






The author would like to thank the Colombe Foundation and the Pentagon Budget Campaign for providing funding support for this report.  The author would also like to thank Matt Mattola of CIP for his assistance in researching contractors and campaign contributions.  Wendy Jordan of Taxpayers for Common Sense also provided research support.


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