FighterSweep Fans, in a surprising–yet not so surprising–move, Arizona Senator John McCain is looking to eliminate the F-35 JPO, or Joint Program Office. From his perspective, the effort to develop the Joint Strike Fighter across three services has failed. The move would devolve the program to the individual services, placing the responsibility for each variant on the service fielding it.

In a surprise move, Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain is looking to eliminate the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), currently the hub of the gargantuan operation that spans three US services and 12 nations.

The provision in his version of the defense policy bill, approved by the committee Thursday as part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, would disband the joint program office after the F-35 reaches full-rate production in April 2019.

The responsibility for the program would then fall to the US departments of the Navy and the Air Force, according to a summary of the bill released Thursday.

The JPO declined to comment on pending legislation. But a source familiar with the issue said McCain’s proposal fails to account for the international reach of the JSF program.

F-35 JPO To Close At McCain's Direction?
An F-35B Lightning II aircraft lands aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during the second at-sea F-35 developmental test event. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin by Andy Wolfe/Released)/Released)

“They took a very US-centric viewpoint on it, forgetting about that there are 11 other countries involved in the F-35 program,” according to the source. “I don’t think that the provision accounts for international aspects to the program.”

The original article at Defense News can be viewed in its entirety right here.
(Featured Photo courtesy of Breaking Defense)