With DoD budget cuts, what's the future of the F-35?

Thursday - 10/20/2011, 4:21pm EDT

Winslow Wheeler, Director at the Straus Military Reform Project, Center for Defense Information

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The Army, Navy, and Air Force's individual versions of the F-35 may be on the budget chopping block.

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey says budget pressure may make variants unaffordable. In testimony last week to the House Armed Services Committee, Dempsey said he is committed to developing a new, fifth-generation fighter. But he questioned the ability to build separate versions for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

And now maintenance problems are showing up in the plane's trials.

"I see no way out of this other than canceling this program and starting a new," said Winslow Wheeler, director at the Straus Military Reform Project for the Center for Defense Information, in an interview with In Depth with Francis Rose.

"Layers and layers of complexity" have been built into the program, Wheeler said.

Starting over will "kick over a lot of rice bowls in the Pentagon, but it's the only way to salvage this horrendous situation we got from the Clinton and Bush administrations," he said.