PROCUREMENT: 3-Star Rejects Trump F-35 Slam: ‘This Program Is Not Out of Control’

If [Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher] Bogdan could send one message to Trump, it would be that “this program is not out of control,” he said.

“Since 2011, we have basically been on schedule. Since 2011, we have basically been on budget,” he said. “We are delivering now today 50-plus airplanes a year that in the hands of the warfighter make a huge, huge difference.”

But despite his advocacy for the program, Bogdan said he and the Joint Program Office have not coordinated with industry to counter Trump’s messaging, nor do they plan to. His strategy, he said, was to tell the truth.

“I am not a salesman for the F-35,” he said. “Our job is going to be to give the administration the good, the bad, and the ugly about this program and let them make their own decisions. What I will tell you is, I think that this program is vital for air dominance for us and our allies for the next 50 years. It replaces many, many, many legacy fleets. It has tremendous international participation and involvement. And it is a necessary program for the United States to maintain its security. And I will tell, if given the opportunity, that to the next administration.”

There’s no getting around the fact that the F-35 program is late and way over budget. Whether or not it was the right aircraft for the many “near-peer” warfighting jobs it was given is something we probably won’t know until the shooting starts — and hopefully it will prove enough of a deterrent that we may never know.