Expecting less of ALIS

The Air Force is looking to see if it really needs the F-35’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) to do everything it was originally planned to do right away, Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski said Thursday. The system is “almost as challenging” as developing a fifth-generation fighter, and while the concepts involved in ALIS are all great, “we have to see … how much is enough, now that we see how challenging it is,” she told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Pawlikowski stopped short of saying USAF would relax its ALIS requirements—which might not even be possible, since it is a multi-service, multi-nation program. However, for purposes of initial service, USAF might think about “how much of the original vision is realistic” and “what’s the real savings if I get it to do a little less?” she said. Closing in on initial operational capability, USAF may “adjust its expectations” for the system, she said. Asked to comment on whether the F-35 could fly missions without plugging into the internet—a question posed recently because of concerns about ALIS’ cyber vulnerabilities—Pawlikowski made an analogy to a laptop computer. It can work without connecting to the internet, she said, but “sooner or later … there are things you want to buy” or upload, or to get updates, so a connection is ultimately inevitable.