More Eyes on the Prize

Lockheed Martin announced Wednesday that it has created three new positions within its F-35 leadership hierarchy to ensure that the next-generation fighter is successfully introduced into the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy inventories and reaches initial operations on schedule next decade. These new program managers will provide a direct, accountable link between Lockheed and each individual service, the company said. Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. James Sandstrom is the company’s new Air Force F-35 program manager, while Stephen Weatherspoon, a retired Navy commander, is the Navy program head. The Marine Corps F-35 lead will be announced later this year. These moves come on the heels of press reports that the Pentagon’s new assessment of the F-35 program identifies cost and schedule issues that could derail the planned in-service dates for the Marine Corps, Air Force, and Navy in 2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively.