Press Release

In Wake Of Announcement of 750 Job Cuts, Gillibrand Calls for Sustained Funding for Marine One

Jun 17, 2009

Washington, D.C. – In
the wake of yesterday’s announcement that Lockheed Martin Corp. plans
to cut up to 750 jobs in New York, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
today called for sustained funding for the Increment One phase of the
Marine One program. The presidential helicopter program has already
produced nine aircraft that are in varying stages of test or
integration. In addition, according to current Navy estimates, the cost
of a new Marine One program could be as high as $17 billion, not
including the cost of extending the life of the current fleet,
essentially putting the estimated cost exactly where the current
project stands.

Marine One program provides hundreds of good-paying jobs right here in
Upstate New York, and now is not the time to cut these jobs,” Senator
Gillibrand said. “The U.S. has already sunk $3 billion into this
program and walking away from that investment is not fiscally
responsible. It seems wiser to spend a limited amount of additional
money to get a useable product that will be a step up from the aging
current fleet than to put these federal dollars down the drain. I will
continue working with our Congressional Delegation to fight for these

original Marine One program requirements consisted of two increments:
Increment One consisted of nine helicopters tasked with providing an
immediate increased capability to meet urgent security needs, while
Increment Two was geared to provide aircraft performance improvements,
technology enhancements and increased capabilities of 23 helicopters.

government has already invested $3.3 billion into the Marine One
program. In order to terminate this program, the Department of Defense
will have to spend millions in termination costs on top of the billions
of dollars already spent.  In addition, they will have to spend
millions to extend the lives of the current presidential helicopter
fleet past their planned service life.   

Martin has already built nine Increment One helicopters, and claim they
can build 19 Increment One helicopters to replace the current fleet for
the original estimate of $6.8 billion. Although the Increment One
helicopter does not fully meet the requirements found within the
Increment Two option, it is an upgrade as compared to the existing
presidential fleet. 

her letter to the Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye and
Ranking Member Thad Cochran, Senator Gillibrand wrote, “I strongly
support the option of sustaining the VH-71 presidential helicopter
program and urge you to consider providing the funding necessary to
procure nineteen Increment One aircraft.  Given the age of the existing
fleet, the lack of a solid fleet replacement plan, and the billions of
dollars already invested in the program, I feel this is the best option
for the safety and security of the President, as well as the best
utilization of taxpayer money.”