WINSLOW T. WHEELER
On June 14 – Flag Day, of all days – the Government Accountability Office released a new oversight report on the F-35: Joint Strike Fighter: DOD Actions Needed to Further Enhance Restructuring and Address Affordability Risks. As usual, it contained some important information on growing costs and other problems. Also as usual, the press covered the new report, albeit a bit sparsely.
Fresh bad news on the F-35 has apparently become so routine that the fundamental problems in the program are plowed right over. One gets the impression, especially from GAO’s own title to its report, that we should expect the bad news, make some minor adjustments, and then move on. But a deeper dive into the report offers more profound, and disturbing, bottom line.
Notorious for burying its more important findings in the body of a report – I know; I worked there for nearly a decade - GAO understates its own results on acquisition cost growth in its one-page summary, which-sadly-is probably what most read to get what they think is the bottom line.