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