The cost of the Pentagon’s biggest weapon program is decreasing. The joint program office for the tri-service F-35 fighter last week disclosed a stunning $58 billion reduction in the projected cost of operating and sustaining the plane over its 55-year service life. That’s more than the entire projected life-cycle cost of most weapon programs, and it was accomplished in only one year; further cuts are coming. However, the office that compiles the Pentagon’s annual cost projections for major programs is sticking with its two-year-old estimate of operation and support costs until the next program milestone in 2017 — which is why few reporters seem to have even noticed the huge reduction in future support costs. When you add that reduction to other, more modest decreases noted in the cost of acquiring the program, the total reduction exceeds $60 billion. Not bad for one year. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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