The F-35 Lightning II faces a potential $1.2 billion cut in its budget for the next fiscal year. In its recently approved 2007 Defense Appropriations bill, the Senate Appropriations Committee decided to delay production for one year. (The panel approved $81 billion in overall Pentagon procurement). The appropriators, who have the authority to fund or not fund projects authorized by the Senate Armed Services Committee, cited what they viewed as unnecessary concurrency in the production and testing of the F-35, according to the committee’s report. The committee wants to see the airframe structure and design validated through flight testing before continuing with procurement, citing the possibility of cost increases and schedule delays. The Pentagon seems certain to fight the cut in later rounds of the debate.
The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness revised the Defense Department’s COVID-19 guidelines. The new rules clarify what’s meant by being “up to date” on vaccinations and when personnel must wear masks in vehicles, among other changes.