F-35 Nunn-McCurdy?

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday he’s “not sure” whether the F-35 program will experience a Nunn-McCurdy breach, triggering a program restructure for cost overruns or schedule difficulties. And, Tuesday, Lockheed Martin officials said their numbers indicate no breach is in store, but “that’s the government’s call to make,” said Dan Crowley, company F-35 program manager. In a telecon with reporters, Crowley noted that Lockheed is “only a subset” of the overall F-35 cost, which includes things such as military construction, personnel, and government-furnished equipment. Moreover, Gates said the government will assume a more pessimistic cost for the F-35, which could push the fighter into the red zone. The next release on the current cost of major programs— Selected Acquisition Reports—will be in March-April and would contain notice of any Nunn-McCurdy breach. If the program is considered critical, it will be continued, but typically at reduced numbers.