Where all the JSF money went

I admit: there’s something about mysterious overcharging admissions by defense contractors that awake my inner-conspiracy theorist.

Of course, it’s entirely plausible that Lockheed Martin’s admission yesterday — about mistakenly overbilling the US government by $265 million on Joint Strike Fighter development — is one of those innocent goofs — the accountant’s equivalent of a Bill Buckner-esque “where’d the ball go?” moment.

But that’s no fun, is it? I mean, what’s the point of being a trade press blogger if you can’t use some imagination, especially when the contractor in question is being a bit too skimpy with the details of what caused this little problem.

So, in the absence of facts, here’s my Top 10 guesses for where all the money went.

10. Charitable donation to Indian Air Force chief
9. Dolce & Gabbana-designed cockpit interior option for Italian customers
8. $265 million marketing fund to fight $400 million defense appropriation for JSF alternate engine
7. Upgrading Tom Burbage from first class on American Airlines to his own private A380 VIP jet
6. A new underground disco for classified interplanetary employees at Groom Lake (cheers Peter La Franchi)
5. Purchase order for building that houses Norway’s Parliament, which will be immediately locked and shuttered upon sale
4. Funding to graphics design firm for making eight new power point slides for JSF quarterly update meeting
3. Skunk Works’ newest toy: unmanned/stealthy/morphing/VTOL/tube-launched 500-ton cargo airship
2. F/A-18-themed interior decor for new outhouse structure at Senator Ted Stevens’ vacation home
1. “Free Veuve Cliquot Champagne Fridays” at Lockheed’s employee cafeteria in Fort Worth


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4 Responses to Where all the JSF money went

  1. deepak 11 August, 2007 at 2:01 am #

    How about the top reason for the overcharge being a charitable donation to the RAF itself, considering its essentially a third world air force at this point.

    Wakeup – the empire’s over and India now owns your backside.

  2. spacer01 11 August, 2007 at 1:53 pm #

    How about this one-take the $265M, invest it, make a pile of money, then notice that it was “overcharged” and return the principle (keeping all that profit)? Or is that too plausible?

  3. Villagesmitty 12 August, 2007 at 5:54 pm #

    There’s no lack of details…256 mil overcharge, and repayment of 100 percent of overcharge plus all the interest that would have been made on that amount…taxpayers don’t lose, Lockheed Martin doesn’t gain…but voluntarily takes a black eye. I love conspiracies as much as anyone else, but I work on the program, know my leadership really well, and know they made the right call: Do the right thing, get it out, take responsibility, deal with it the right way, move on.

  4. Stephen Trimble 12 August, 2007 at 8:48 pm #

    But it’s the “get it out” part that seems insufficient, at least to me anyway. Yes, they disclosed the overcharge, but the details of the “mistake” are still pretty sketchy. If it was an honest mistake, there should be no harm done to explain exactly how it happened. Until then, I’ll keep my eye on the beverage menu at the employee cafeteria!

    Also, to Mr. Deepak, I’m not British, but thanks for that thinly veiled insult.

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