What’s in the Budget for the F-35?

Rolling Analysis, FY22 President's Skinny BudgetWhat’s in the Budget for the F-35?Right now, it's the sound of silence.

National Security,  | Analysis
Apr 9, 2021  | 2 min read | Print Article

What a difference a year makes. After several years of the Pentagon budget release trumpeting (see what we did there?) how much money was devoted to the F-35, this year it’s nothing but the Sound of Silence.

Or, if 1960’s soft rock isn’t your thing, it’s crickets as far as what’s happening with the F-35.

We get that a skinny budget is going to be short on the deets. But there is literally nothing about the F-35 in what the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released today. If you squint really hard and tip your head to the side, the reference deterring China could possibly include a need for more F-35s.

We’ll mention that shipbuilding gets its own shout-out in what the OMB released. So do, “ongoing nuclear modernization programs.”

No doubt the full budget request will include funds for the F-35, the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. But we’ll take this as a sign that the program is getting a tip-to-tail review. We suggested just such a review in our recommendations to the incoming Biden Administration.

F-35: Use the recently announced delay of the start of full rate production to reassess inventory needs for the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. This is the most expensive procurement program in the history of the Pentagon. Take the necessary time to get this right.

We’ll be interested to see how this turns out.

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