The House Armed Services Committee wants to limit F-35 funding beyond 30 aircraft until DOD certifies that its recent restructure has borne fruit. During the 2011 defense bill markup Wednesday, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said his air and land subcommittee added “requirements that the timeline, as laid out by the contractor and by DOD, be met.” He continued: “It’s a critical program. It’s replacing almost all of our fighter attack aircraft over the course of the next five to 20 years. We have to make sure that it works and functions.” And, seapower panel ranking member Todd Akin (R-Mo.) noted that “even if JSF [Joint Strike Fighter] suddenly meets schedule and cost, the Navy and Marine Corps will continue to have a strike fighter shortfall.” He likened the shortfall as “closer to five carriers’ worth of aircraft,” calling that “a pretty big deal” despite Pentagon assurances otherwise.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.