Throughout the fiscal year 2017 budget review process, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Joint Program Office provided insufficient justification and incomplete information in an untimely manner. It is imperative that requested information is received promptly for proper congressional oversight of this major defense acquisition program.
It is understood that the Secretary of Defense is reviewing potential alternative management structures for the JSF program as directed by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328).
This review will provide an opportunity to improve communication between the JSF Program Executive Officer (PEO), the Services, and the congressional defense committees to ensure the program's funding requirements are fully understood, communicated, and justified.
Additionally, there is concern that the number of F-35s enacted in annual Department of Defense Appropriations Acts are not being placed on contract by the JSF PEO in a timely manner. Four F-35s included in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2015 and 13 F-35s included in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2016 were not part of their respective low rate initial production (LRIP) contracts due to the PEO's contracting strategy.
Specifically, only four F-35Cs were included on LRIPs 9 and 10, rather than the ten F-35Cs enacted in the Department of Defense Appropriations Acts, 2015 and 2016, impeding production efficiencies.
The agreement directs the JSF PEO to use a contracting approach that would award all aircraft included in each Department of Defense Appropriations Act on the respective production contract for that fiscal year. The agreement includes funding for 74 F-35 aircraft.
The JSF PEO is directed to brief the congressional defense committees not later than 45 days after the enactment of this Act on the contracting strategy for these aircraft. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full Appropriations Bill Explanatory Statement (350 PDF pages) on the Committee website.