Slashing your country’s top tactical-aircraft program in the midst of a war isn’t the way nations usually operate, but that’s what the Biden administration apparently is getting ready to propose. When its 2023 budget request is released next week, all three services buying the fighter will seek fewer aircraft than they had predicted they would buy only months ago. The total proposed cut is from a planned 94 to 61, a 35% reduction, but we wouldn’t know any of this were it not for Bloomberg News. And even Bloomberg doesn’t know what the administration’s rationale is. One thing, though, seems obvious enough: the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps didn’t all spontaneously decide to cut their biggest investment in future air power at the same time. Something else is going on. Whatever that something else is, it is sending the wrong signal to America’s allies, many of whom have signed on to the F-35 program as a way of assuring allied air dominance in future conflicts. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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