House Oversight Committee - Product 17521-1-DVD- A-12 Aircraft Program - House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. Subcommittee on Legislation and National Security. The committee heard testimony on the cancellation of the A-12 aircraft program by the Department of Defense. In January 1991, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney canceled the A-12 aircraft development program, saying it was 18 months behind schedule and over billion over cost. After the cancellation, the two contractors working on the project asked for and received a delay in returning .35 billion in excess payments to the U.S. Navy. The A-12 program was the largest program ever to be canceled in U.S. military history. The chairman of the committee, Rep. Conyers, called the delay in returning the excess payments "the biggest defense contractor bailout in U.S. history." He threatened a subpoena against McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics, the two firms involved in the A-12 program, if they did not turn over the papers requesting a delay in the payments by April 15. Representatives of the Department of Defense said that ample financial evidence for the need for deferment was supplied by the contractors to the Department of Defense. Immediate demand for repayment might have resulted in a reduction in credit granted by the contractors' banking institutions, and release of the financial data of the contractor might have affected national security.