F-35 Not in the Breach

F-35 Not in the Breach: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is not facing an imminent Nunn-McCurdy breach, despite an early Jan. 23 entry at Aviation Week’s Ares blog that heralded this claim, which the author of the entry said he discovered in a statement on the Government Accountability Office transition Web page detailing DOD issues facing the new Administration and Congress. The “news” spread through the aerospace community like wildfire Friday and has appeared on several additional blogs. Under its entry on Air Force issues, the GAO transition Web page stated that the F-35 program “recently declared a Nunn-McCurdy unit cost breach.” That often signals that a program is in serious trouble and will face restructure or outright termination. The Ares blog entry all but accused outgoing F-35 program manager Maj. Gen. Charles Davis of deliberately concealing this development during a public presentation earlier this month. But the blog’s putative revelation was wrong. Michael Sullivan, GAO’s acquisition and sourcing management director, told the Daily Report Friday that the GAO transition page entry looked back over the past three years, including a December 2005 breach, which had been routinely reported by DOD in its April 2006 notification to Congress. Sullivan confirmed that there is no new Nunn-McCurdy breach and acknowledged that the GAO Web entry was poorly worded. The Ares blog corrected its JSF entry late Friday afternoon after a senior GAO official posted a comment setting the record straight (and said GAO would correct its transition page).