Investigative Report Prompts Congressional Hearings on Unneeded Military Aircraft

June 22nd, 2007 - by admin

Straus Military Reform Project / Center for Defense Information – 2007-06-22 23:20:25

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 13, 2007) — While on a fellowship with the Project on Government Oversight last year, Straus Military Reform Project Adviser Jason Vest discovered an aviation program for a plane called the DP-2, which after 20 years of American taxpayer funding still can’t fly.

This aviation program owes its birth and ongoing existence to almost 20 years of earmarks from current and former members of Congress, including Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), and former Rep. Chris Cox (R-Calif.), who is now chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, among others.

A veteran national security investigative reporter, Vest spent the better part of nine months investigating the history and current status of the DP-2 program, which is under the auspices of the Office of Naval Research/NASA.

What he found was a fascinating history of how ideological visions over technological expertise, campaign contributions, lobbying fees and congressional bullying of the Pentagon have cost the American taxpayers nearly $100 million for an airplane the military doesn’t want or need – and either blows up or crashes every time it’s tested.

Vest served as a consultant to the ABC News investigative team for a story on the DP-2, which aired June 11, 2007, on ABC World News with Charles Gibson. As a result of Vest’s and others congressional investigations, the House Science and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a three-panel hearing on the DP-2 on June 12, 2007, to examine the “testing mishaps and management” of the aviation program.

The subcommittee found that despite safety concerns over the aircraft, “poor management of the program and the company’s lack of adherence to safety protocols and procedures,” the US government is still funding the development. In fact, the fiscal year 2008 federal budget has a $6 million earmark reserved for the DP-2, all for an aircraft that even the US military — the group it’s being developed for — has rejected.

• Watch the video from ABC News here:
• . Read the ABC News story about the DP-2 here:
• Read the San Diego Union Tribune story about the subcommittee hearing here:
• Read the press release from the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology regarding their investigation and hearing on the DP-2 here:
• A monograph by Vest on the DP-2 program will be published in the fall of 2007 by the Center for Defense Information. Read excerpts from the new monograph at

To learn more about the DP-2 program, or to schedule an interview with Jason Vest, please contact Winslow Wheeler, director of CDI’s Straus Military Reform Project, 202-797-5271; or Whitney Parker, director of communications, 202-797-5287,

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