Our Senate source pointed to "the ambivalence of Air Force testimony and other communications to Congress this year" as the fuel for Congressional concern about the administration's decision to kill the F-22. If you're wondering what "ambivalence" this aide was referring to, here are some of the quotes and exchanges between Congress and the Air Force that are driving the resistance in Congress:
In my opinion, a fleet of 187 F-22s puts execution of our current national military strategy at high risk in the near to mid-termâ€¦ [T]here are no studies that demonstrate 187 F-22s are adequate to support our national military strategy. Air Combat Command analysis, done in concert with Headquarters Air Force, shows a moderate risk force can be obtained with an F-22 fleet of approximately 250 aircraft.
-Gen. John Corley, Commander ACC
June 9 letter to Sen. Chambliss
Senator Saxby Chambliss: Under the force planning construct, where we assume that 183 is going to be the number, what is the level of risk that we are taking at 183? Is it low? Is it moderate? Or is it high risk?
General Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff: I would characterize it as moderate to high, sir.
-Senate Armed Services Committee, May 21, 2009
Chambliss: Your chief of staff has stated that the requirement is 243 and he has characterized the risk of only 187 F-22s as medium to high. Do either of you disagree with that assessment by General Schwartz?
Major General Mark Gibson, Director of Operations and Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Plans and Requirements, Department of the Air Force: Sir, of course I would agree with the comment of my chief. General Shackelford addressed earlier that the term now is "higher risk," especially when one looks at sustainment of the fleet with those lower numbers. But I think his recent terminology was in the light of today's constrained resources. It was an affordable solution.
-Hearing of the Airland Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, June9, 2009
Gen. Richard Hawley (USAF, Ret): The F-22 recommendation rests on an assertion that we cannot afford to equip our airmen, on whom we rely to gain and maintain air superiority, with the best weapons that our defense industrial base has developed. Rather, we, and they, are asked to accept the risk of sending them into the fight with weapons designed for an entirely different mission.
-Hearing of the Airland Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, April 30, 2009