PARIS --- A House subcommittee has demanded additional information from the Pentagon on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and notably wants an independent cost estimate on the program.
“It’s been a while since we’ve seen an independent cost estimate from the services” — the Air Force, Navy, and Marines all use F-35 variants — as well as the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment & Program Evaluation office (CAPE), according to a House Armed Services Committee staffer quoted by Breaking Defense.
The subcommittee’s mark-up also “seeks details on how the Pentagon plans to control the long-term operations, maintenance, and sustainment costs of the stealth fighter, a timeline to both patch and rebuild the troubled ALIS maintenance system, and more information on the plane’s critical upgrade Block IV software upgrade.”
Below are the relevant excerpts of the Markup of H.R. 2500 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 by the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces of the House Committee on Armed Services.
Section 1xx—Program Requirements for the F-35 Aircraft Program
This section would require the Secretary of Defense to designate Block 4 capability as a major subprogram of the F-35 program and subject Block 4 to relevant reporting requirements and criteria pertinent to a major subprogram.
This section would require the Secretaries of the Air Force and the Navy to develop a joint service cost position for F-35 life-cycle costs, and require the Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation to develop an independent life-cycle cost estimate for comparison. (Emphasis added throughout-Ed.)
This section would also require the Secretary of Defense to revise the Department of Defense's program element structure for F-35 beginning with the fiscal year 2021 President’s budget request and subsequent budget requests to provide sufficient transparency regarding future F-35 costs.
Finally, this section would require the Comptroller General of the United States to provide an annual report for five consecutive years, submitted each year not later than 30 days after the President’s annual budget submission to Congress, that reviews the F-35 program.
Section 1xx—Reports on F-35 Aircraft Program
This section would require the Secretary of Defense to provide reports to the congressional defense committees on F-35 reliability and maintainability metrics, Block 4 capability development and fielding activities, and modernization and upgrade plans for the F-35 Autonomic Logistics Information System.
Click here for the full mark-up (60 PDF pages) on the House website.