Gates Fires F-35 Manager: Defense Secretary Bob Gates has fired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. David Heinz, who has led the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program office since April 2009. The Pentagon boss announced the ouster of Heinz during the Feb. 1 defense budget roll out, saying only that he would be replaced be a three-star general officer. In the interim, F-35 deputy program executive officer, Air Force Maj. Gen. C.D. Moore has the lead. Last summer, Heinz reportedly angered Gates over critical remarks Heinz made about the primary F-35 engine, Pratt & Whitney's F135. Since then, DOD officials have acknowledged major problems with the F-35 program, prompting the need to redirect funds to bolster development and testing and a slowdown in early production plans.