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Friday, July 17, 2009 - 3:31am

Defense Secretary Says F-22 Costs Put U.S. At Risk

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the F-22 fighter jet is a perfect way to illustrate what’s wrong with how the nation spends money on defense.

The LA Times this morning reports Gates made the comments in Chicago last night in a speech to an economic club audience there. He says the push by some lawmakers to get more money for F-22 production puts America at risk.

Georgia U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss has been a vocal supporter of an amendment to fund production for additional F-22 planes and keep jobs in place nationwide, including in Georgia. At Marietta’s Lockheed-Martin plant, 2,000 jobs are connected to the fighter’s production. Across the U.S., 25,000 jobs are directly tied to the plane.

The Pentagon’s recommendation to Congress earlier this year called for an end to F-22 production, instead favoring the cheaper F-35. A Senate vote on the amendment to fund more F-22 production was delayed this week. It could come next week.