On Fox, McInerney criticizes Gates for proposed F-22 replacement without noting ties to aircraft subcontractor

Fox News military analyst Tom McInerney criticized the Obama administration's decision to procure only four more F-22 fighters, but at no point was it disclosed during his appearance that McInerney has served as a consultant for Northrop Grumman Corp., a major subcontractor on the F-22.

During the April 25 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, Fox military analyst and retired Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney criticized the Obama administration's decision to procure only four more F-22 fighters and praised the aircraft as “the dominant air superiority fighter.” However, neither McInerney nor co-host Jamie Colby disclosed that McInerney has reportedly served as a consultant for the Northrop Grumman Corp., which is a major subcontractor on the F-22.

McInerney's Humanevents.com bio -- he has written several articles for the magazine -- states that he “consults for Northrop Grumman on the KC 45 program." On the March 10, 2008, edition of Fox News' Special Report, correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported that “McInerney consults for Northrop Grumman.” Also, an August 1, 2008, C4ISR Journal op-ed by McInerney identified him as “a consultant to Northrop Grumman.”

McInerney has also recently consulted for defense contractor Cobham plc, which in March 2006 announced that its subsidiary Sargent Fletcher Inc. had been awarded contracts from Lockheed Martin Corp. “worth more than US$8m for its 600 gallon external fuel tanks for the F-22 Raptor jet aircraft.” According to Sargent Fletcher's website, the company is “currently under contract to Lockheed Martin for the Low-Rate Initial Production of a new 600-gallon external fuel tank for the F/A-22 fighter.” In a June 4, 2008, press release, Cobham announced McInerney's nomination to the board of Cobham North America as one of “three senior 'Outside Directors,' ” who, with the approval of the U.S. government, would “provide assurance on security matters and strategic guidance on defence and market trends.” According to the press release, McInerney's nomination was a part of Cobham's purchase of another defense contractor, SPARTA Inc.

McInerney was featured in the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times exposé by David Barstow that detailed the connections between numerous media military analysts, the Pentagon, and the defense industry. In the article, Barstow reported that McInerney “sits on the boards of several military contractors, including Nortel Government Solutions, a supplier of communication networks.” The article also reported that the Pentagon helped McInerney and another Fox military analyst “write an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal defending [former Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld” and that, in an apparently separate case, McInerney “wrote to the Pentagon after receiving fresh talking points in late 2006,” stating, “Good work. ... We will use it.”

McInerney also criticized Gates on America's News HQ because he “wants to replace [the F-22] with the F-35, which the production line has really not started yet.” Northrup Grumman is “a principal subcontractor on an F-35 industry team led by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics” and “plays a critical role in the development and production of the F-35 weapon system.”

From the March 10, 2008, edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

GRIFFIN: Democrats are blaming Republican Senator John McCain for siding against Boeing five years ago when he demanded an open competition and not a single-source contract to lease refueling tankers from Boeing.

A whistleblower blew the lid off the original deal, and an Air Force procurement officer, Darleen Druyun, went to jail for nine months for attempting to win jobs for her family from Boeing.

McCAIN: I intervened in a process that was clearly corrupt. That's why people went to jail. That's why the Government Accountability Office said that I saved the taxpayers over $6 billion.

McINERNEY: We are now going to buy 179 tankers for the price we were going to lease 100 tankers. So all Senator McCain saw -- put in was a competitive program.

GRIFFIN: McInerney consults for Northrop Grumman and says Airbus will add tens of thousands of jobs to the U.S. economy because it is building four factories in Alabama to refit the Airbus 330s. Other states are building the avionics.

From the April 25 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ:

COLBY: Lieutenant General Tom McInerney is a retired member of the United States Air Force and a favorite Fox News military analyst -- great to see you, sir.

McINERNEY: Hi, Jamie. How are you?

COLBY: I'm doing great. But you know how much I worry about our troops, and I worry about them having what they need to complete the mission at hand. Does Secretary Gates have it right?

McINERNEY: Unfortunately, he does not, Jamie. And I think it needs a lot more analysis than what he did and changed our requirements that the joint requirements operations council had put out. He made a lot of very significant changes without getting the military fully behind him. And I can assure you that in the Pentagon and out in the field, for all services, we have major problems, what he has done, and he has not coordinated it.

COLBY: Tell me, Lieutenant General McInerney, about the front lines -- the troops that are in harm's way. How do they feel? What have you heard?

McINERNEY: Well, let's take the F-22, because it's the easiest one. He wants to cancel that procurement. The fact is is the F-22 is the dominant air superiority fighter. It flies at 60,000 feet at 1.6 mach. He wants to replace it with the F-35, which the production line has really not started yet. And he wants to cap it at 186 or 187 aircraft.

Well, that means you only have 100 airplanes or two fighter wings for operational units -- as we call combat coded. We would not have been able to conduct Operation Iraqi Freedom nor Operation Northern Watch or Southern Watch with only 100 F-22s with the threat coming for 30 years. Now, I don't know where Secretary Gates gets the vision to look out 30 years.

COLBY: Let me ask you about the vision --

McINERNEY: And so that's one example.