By: Gina Hawkins for Military.com, August 31, 2018
The Pentagon is downplaying major F-35 Joint Strike Fighter design flaws that could leave service members at risk in an effort to keep the long-scrutinized program on schedule, a watchdog group warned this week.
A military review board met in June to look at some of the F-35’s deficiencies. The group downgraded 19 serious problems without a clear plan to fix them all, according to a new report from the Project on Government Oversight, an independent nonpartisan watchdog that exposes government waste, fraud and abuse.
Before the June meeting, POGO reported, the 19 problems had been labeled Category I deficiencies, meaning they “may cause death, severe injury, or severe occupational illness; may cause loss or major damage to a weapon system; critically restrict the combat readiness capabilities of the using organization; or result in a production line stoppage.”
During the meeting, the flaws were switched to Category II deficiencies, a less serious classification that means they “could impede or constrain successful mission accomplishment,” according to POGO.