Yesterday, after a conflict-fraught deliberation process, the Obama Administration awarded the Light Air Support (LAS) contract to Brazilian-based Embraer over Beechcraft; a Wichita Kansas based company with a long history of supplying the U.S. military with aircraft. Had Beechcraft been granted the contract, the company expected to add or sustain 1,400 jobs in the U.S. The Embraer plane, on the other hand, will be primarily built in Brazil, with only about 50 assembly jobs in the U.S.
After a long-drawn-out contracting process that has been marred in controversy and questionable conduct by government officials, the Pentagon and the Obama Administration have again decided to put taxpayers at risk and ship jobs overseas by allowing a foreign company to produce important components of our national security.
“On Thursday February 27th, Department of Defense (DOD) officials awarded the Light Air Support (LAS) contract to the Brazilian aircraft maker, Embraer. Interestingly and without explanation, the cost of the contract to taxpayers somehow ballooned from $355 million to $427.5 million, a 20 percent increase. With sequestration and billions of dollars in defense cuts set to take place, taxpayers should be outraged at this cost increase.
“By awarding the contract to the Brazilians, the Administration has once again failed to give Beechcraft, the American-made aircraft manufacturer vying for the contract, the full and fair consideration that was required during the procurement process…
“…Now, the Administration is doubling-down on their prior mistakes by putting a critical defense project in the hands of a foreign sovereign. The extent of the carnage this decision causes is not just limited to the millions that will be sent overseas for these 20 LAS aircraft in the near-term. There are broader implications and untold billions of taxpayer dollars at stake by the Pentagon’s decision to grant the U.S. Air Force’s seal of approval to a foreign entity – backed financially and politically by Brazil. The Brazilian government has a “golden share” in Embraer, which essentially translates into operational control of the company. Not only does this put tax dollars at risk with the Brazilian company, but also could threaten US national security. The Administration’s unjustifiable endorsement of this Brazilian company could be exploited by them to gain unfair and unwarranted advantages in the U.S. and around the world. Meanwhile, domestic manufacturers are forced to cut jobs and highly skilled workers remain unemployed here at home.
Beechcraft just emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.