Bush calls defense contractors "aggregators," need military procurement reform
After talking with Gov. Jeb Bush about private weapons contractors driving policies such as the the $1.5 trillion F-35 fighter jets and the new $1 trillion nuclear weapons plan, I asked him what we would do as President to stop corporate lobbyists or private corporations from driving public policy. Although Bush believes more competition will lower these costs, he agrees there is lots of waste within military procurement and expressed the need for reform. "You can’t have just three defense contractors basically doing all the major weapons systems," he told me.
Here is the transcript from the video:
Kevin: "You made reference earlier to the F-35 jets. There’s a lot of waste and expense, it’s $1.5 trillion and still doesn’t fly yet."
Jeb Bush: "How much?"
Kevin: "$1.5 trillion. That’s how much the expected cost is and it’s already cost $400 billion."
Bush: "One version of it is flying."
Kevin: "Ok, but you have to be under 130 pounds and certain specifications. But anyways, so there is a lot of waste with military procurement."
Kevin: "There was a question earlier about nuclear weapons. So we have a $1 trillion plan to spend more on nuclear subs, missiles, weapons, all of that. A lot of these private weapons contractors are driving these policies. So what would you do as President, to make sure that corporate lobbyists or private corporations are not driving public policy?"
Bush: "Great question. We need procurement reform, plain and simple. We have defense contractors which effectively are aggregators. So we end up with a handful of people bidding on these really complex projects. If you broke it down in their disparate parts, we’d have much more competition to lower costs. John McCain and Mac Thornberry in the House have proposals to do just that. We shorten the life cycle for building out these programs and allow for more competition and you could take out, extract a lot of the costs.
You can’t have just three defense contractors basically doing all the major weapons systems. So, the F-35 will eventually be a war fighter that will keep us safe, that it will be far superior to what the Russians or the Chinese have, but it could have been built at a much lower cost."