Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) has received written assurance from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that Air Force Space Command will remain a four-star command. “I wanted an unmistakable commitment from the Air Force that we would continue to pursue US national interests in space, and I got it,” said Allard. The Senator had written to Rumsfeld last month, suggesting that DOD was not paying “sufficient attention” to space issues and asked specifically about the status of the Space Command slot. Speculation that the command was to be downgraded started earlier this year when the Air Force failed to nominate a replacement for AFSPC commander Gen. Lance Lord prior to his retirement. The acting commander, Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz assured reporters earlier this month that a four-star would come in due course.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.