That's what "Uncle Jimbo" over at the Blackfive blog thinks may be going on after taking a look at the Defense budget:
The Chairman’s mark of the Defense Authorization Act is out and there are many good things in there. Rep. Buck McKeon is a solid advocate for a strong defense and this is his chance to comment on priorities and goals for defense funding. Most of the relatively short document relates to policy and has some requirements for explanations of debacles like Benghazi. But there are also some funding items that don’t make much sense.Supporters of the buy will tell you it's necessary to "fill the gap" between now and the deployment of the F-35. Is that really the reason, or is it a bit like the legacy of continuing to build C-17s and making the Air Force buy them years after the Air Force said it didn't need or want anymore C-17s?
One of these is a requirement to buy F-18 aircraft, which is a bit of a head scratcher. We cancelled the F-22 program before we bought anywhere near as many true air superiority fighters as we should have. We have cut back severely the number of F-35s that we plan to buy, but somehow we can find the money to buy a completely different and significantly less capable bird. That smells distressingly like some corporate welfare for Boeing, who makes the F-18.