The Defense Department intends to shut down the F-35 program office and have each service branch oversee their own offices for the fighter jet program, Defense News reported Tuesday.
Ellen Lord, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, wrote a letter to Congress outlining nine near-term actions that seek to advance the establishment of F-35 program offices specific to the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, including the appointment of service deputies and development of a plan for the implementation of fleet management offices.
“In order to effectively integrate and sustain the F-35 in the joint force, the military departments must have more direct ownership of the F-35 program and leverage organic capabilities, processes and infrastructure,” Lord, a 2018 Wash100 recipient, noted in the March 27 letter initially obtained by Inside Defense.
DoD intends for the Air Force to manage an F-35A office and for the Navy and Marine Corps to oversee the F-35B/C offices, according to the letter.
Cmdr. Patrick Evans, a spokesman for DoD, told the publication that the Pentagon plans to set up a plan to move F-35 management to service-run offices over the next year and execute such a transition through three phases.