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Senate Armed Services Committee Considers Giveaway for Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin in NDAA

On June 23, members of the U.S.

Senate Armed Services Committee Considers Giveaway for Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin in NDAA

Senate Armed Services Committee added a new giveaway to Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight company, to the 2024 National Defense Authorization Agreement (NDAA), despite opposition by the U.S. Air Force. In March, Breitbart News reported that the federal government relaxed spaceflight procurement standards to help the New Glenn, a prototype made by Bezos’ troubled rocket company Blue Origin, qualify for contracts. It did this even though the New Glenn hasn’t yet launched despite the company saying it would by 2020. Jeff Bezos speaks about his flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard into space during a press conference on July 20, 2021 in Van Horn, Texas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall III testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to review the Air Force’s Defense Authorization Request for fiscal year 2023, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Patrick Semansky/AP) At the time, the government created two contracting lanes — Lane 2, which it reserves for the most national security-sensitive missions, and Lane 1, which is for less critical missions. It would provide contracts to two companies for the former and an unlimited number for the latter. This helps the learning curve of Bezos’ problem-ridden company without significantly distressing America’s national security needs and ambitions. Now, the Senate Armed Services Committee has gone a step further by proposing that the government allow for more than two contractors to service Lane 2 — the national-security sensitive lane. Senate leaders are considering this Bezos bailout despite the fact that the House’s version of the NDAA, passed on June 21 deferred to the U.S. Air Force’s opinion.

The Air Force has made it clear that it wants the government to select only two providers for Lane 2. This change is being considered despite the fact that the national security community has warned that adding a third contractor to Lane 2 would endanger taxpayers and America’s national security. In joint written testimony, U.S. Air Force Assistant Secretary Frank Calvelli and General David D. Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations for the Space Force, noted that the Air Force’s recommendation of “two fully certified launch service providers in one lane while allowing emerging providers to compete, when ready, for the DoD’s more risk-tolerant missions in another lane” will “provide Assured Access to Space” while “[protecting] capacity for the DoD’s less risk-tolerant missions.” The Space Force also made it clear in a one-pager that adding a third provider would likely increase costs by over $5 billion and decrease incentive for bidders to provide price-competitive bids to the federal government. In congressional testimony, U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said he approved the Air Force’s strategy out of recognition that it was the best way to protect taxpayers and national security. According to Kendall: “I thought it was really, balanced a lot of competing things very well. It allows us to bring new entrants in fairly fluidly, but it also gives us assured access for the higher risk missions...” In April 2021, NASA rejected Blue Origin’s bids for this space launch program because it found that it would have cost the agency nearly $6 billion — roughly twice the amount proposed by SpaceX. Yet, Congress is now seeking to undercut these concerns in one fell swoop by adding a Bezos bailout in the NDAA. Bezos’ Blue Origin has obtained hundreds of millions from NASA, the Air Force, and the Space Force despite never exceeding low-earth orbit with a space vehicle. Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election. Follow him on Twitter @AllumBokhari. .

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