Chairs Maloney and Lynch Issue Statement on Lockheed Martin’s Agreement to Pay $70.6 Million for Failures in F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program
Washington, D.C. (Mar. 8, 2021)— Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, issued the following statement after the Department of Defense (DOD) reached an agreement for Lockheed Martin to invest $70.6 million in the F-35 program as compensation for its failure to deliver spare parts that were ready for installation:
“We applaud the Department of Defense for its efforts to hold Lockheed Martin accountable for failing to meet contract requirements for F-35 spare parts. While we believe Lockheed should have reimbursed American taxpayers for a greater share of the inefficiencies uncovered by our Committee’s investigation, this is a step in the right direction. Moving forward, Lockheed must take responsibility for ensuring that the F-35 program meets contract requirements and the needs of our military personnel.
“We remain concerned about DOD’s transition to a new F-35 information technology system. Initial reports from the Pentagon’s independent testing office found that the new program lacks a development strategy and that the schedule is high risk. It is critical that all aspects of the program meet the needs of our warfighters. Our service members deserve nothing less.”
The Oversight Committee’s investigation over the last 18 months, including a hearing in July 2020, exposed Lockheed Martin’s failures and helped press the contractor to pay for deficiencies in sustaining the F-35.
In June 2019, the DOD Inspector General (IG) estimated that DOD spent more than $300 million on additional labor costs between 2015 and 2018 as a result of Lockheed Martin’s failure to provide F-35 spare parts with logs and that DOD will continue to pay $55 million a year if issues are not resolved.
In March 2020, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that, at one location, F-35 maintenance personnel warned that during a six-month period in 2019, they experienced up to 400 issues per week of inaccurate or missing electronic logs.
On June 18, 2020, Chairwoman Maloney, Chairman Lynch, Rep. Speier, and Rep. Khanna, sent a letter to Lockheed Martin requesting documents related to the F-35 program.
On July 22, 2020, the Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing focused on issues related to the maintenance of the F-35 and excess costs incurred by DOD. At the hearing, Gregory M. Ulmer, Vice President and General Manager, F-35 Lightning II Program, Lockheed Martin, acknowledged that they are “not meeting our customer or warfighting requirement.”
On September 21, 2020, Chairwoman Maloney, Chairman Lynch, Rep. Speier, Rep. Khanna, and Rep. Porter sent a letter to DOD urging immediate action to rectify problems with the F-35 program that impede its cost-effective sustainment going forward.