Watchdog Finds 719 Problems with the Pentagon’s F-35 Program

Cpl. Ken Kalemkarian/Marine Corps Air Station Yuma

AA Font size + Print

In a review of the F-35 program, the Pentagon’s Inspector General says the military lost control of contractors and quality management. By Mark Micheli

The beleaguered F-35 program has yet another problem on its hands. Actually, make that 719 problems.

A recent report from the Pentagon’s internal watchdog reveals that the next gen fighter jet is plagued with hundreds of issues. The Defense Department’s Inspector General conducted a series of quality assurance assessments that found the Joint Program Office and Defense Contract Management Agency performed “inadequate oversight,” failing to adhere to widely adopted quality management protocols while losing control of contractors that have already sunk an estimated $400 billion taxpayer dollars into what is the most expensive weapons system ever developed by the U.S. government.

The IG’s 126-page report concluded that prime contractor Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, L-3 Display Systems, Honeywell Aerospace and United Technologies Corporation “did not follow disciplined AS9100 Quality Management System practices,” citing 363 findings, which documented 719 issues that could “adversely affect aircraft performance, reliability, maintainability, and ultimately cost.”

Among the numerous oversight shortcomings, the IG found that JPO failed to:

  • Ensure that Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors were applying rigor to design, manufacturing, and quality assurance processes.
  • Flow down critical safety item requirements.
  • Ensure that Lockheed Martin flowed down quality assurance and technical requirements to subcontractors.
  • Establish an effective quality assurance organization.
  • Ensure that the Defense Contract Management Agency perform adequate quality assurance oversight.
  • In addition, the Defense Contract Management Agency did not sufficiently perform Government quality assurance oversight of F-35 contractors.

In a statement received by Defense News, F-35 JPO spokesman Joe DellaVedova said the report was “thorough, professional, well-documented and useful to the F-35 Enterprise.” He also said many of the issues in the report had been previously documented and addressed, noting that the IG conducted the report between Feb. 2012 and July 2013. Lockheed Martin told ABC News that the IG’s report is “based on data that’s more than 16 months old and [a] majority of the Corrective Action Requests identified have been closed.”

Read the IG’s full report here (pdf). 

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • Military Readiness: Ensuring Readiness with Analytic Insight

    To determine military readiness, decision makers in defense organizations must develop an understanding of complex inter-relationships among readiness variables. For example, how will an anticipated change in a readiness input really impact readiness at the unit level and, equally important, how will it impact readiness outside of the unit? Learn how to form a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of readiness and make decisions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Information Operations: Retaking the High Ground

    Today's threats are fluent in rapidly evolving areas of the Internet, especially social media. Learn how military organizations can secure an advantage in this developing arena.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.