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By Greg Hadley

Sweeping changes could be in store for the F-35 program starting in 2027 if the latest version of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act is approved. The latest draft of the NDAA, passed by the House on Dec. 7 and awaiting passage in the Senate, calls for transferring “management, planning, and execution” of all F-35 sustainment activities from the Joint Program Office to the respective services by October 2027, followed by the transfer of all acquisition functions by October 2029. And that’s not all. A separate provision puts pressure on the JPO, the services, and contractors to drive down sustainment costs by threatening the future size of the F-35 fleet.