No Fanfare

In a routine senior officer announcement, the Pentagon revealed that Vice Adm. David Venlet would fill the F-35 hot seat. How hot? Ash Carter, the Pentagon acquisition guru, just revealed the F-35 would indeed breach Nunn-McCurdy and the Air Force likely would not field its first operational F-35 unit until 2016—about three years late—as would the Navy. The Marine Corps is holding at 2012. Venlet, who currently serves as head of Naval Air Systems Command, is a veteran fighter and test pilot and served as program executive officer for the Navy’s tactical air programs. If confirmed by the Senate to retain his current rank, he would be the first three-star to serve as F-35 PEO. When Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he had fired the previous PEO, Marine Corps Maj. Gen. David Heinz, he specifically noted he would seek a three-star for the billet.