Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter assured the nearly 3,000 recently furloughed civilian employees at Hill AFB, Utah, that despite the drawdown in Afghanistan, the base will continue to play a “big part” in the Defense Department’s future. “You will host the F-35, which is the linchpin of our tactical future,” said Carter. Hill will be the home of the F-35A depot. In fact, the first strike fighter slated to undergo maintenance work arrived at the base in September. Carter acknowledged the blow to morale caused by the furloughs, saying “it’s disgraceful, it’s inexcusable, it’s embarrassing.” He added, “It shames us in front of others around the world that we can’t manage our own internal affairs better.” (AFPS report)
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."