Asked at the hearing about the status of the F-35B, the new defense secretary, Leon Panetta, said the probation would allow for further testing to "give us a chance to see how it performs." "And if it performs well, then obviously it'll be able to make the grade," he said. The cost of building F-35 jets has mushroomed and defense officials have struggled to keep the price tag under control. Over the past decade, the cost per plane has doubled in real terms, according to the Pentagon. The program's cost has jumped to about $385 billion, and the price of each is at roughly $103 million in constant dollars or $113 million in fiscal year 2011 dollars. AFP: F-35 fighter program might face cuts: top US officer The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program -- already the most expensive defense acquisition program in U.S. history -- just got even more costly, to the tune of $771 million Lockheed Martin F-35 Fighters to Cost Another $771 M - ABC News A U.S. air-warfare simulation pitting F-35 Joint Strike Fighters versus the latest Russian Su-35 heavy fighters resulted in a clear victory for the Russians. "The JSF had been clubbed like baby seals by the simulated Sukhois," one Australian opposition politician said, quoting a source close to the simulation Joint Strike Fighters ‘Clubbed’ in Computer War Game | Danger Room | Wired.com I am constantly surprised by Washington's fake ire over spending when for years the they have approved in many cases, a bleeding of taxpayer funds from the DOD for programs that are massive cash cows for the contractors, but also more times than not fail to see the light of day to the warfighter or by the time they are fielded technology has passed them by. These calls for cutting domestic program's like education and NASA for example are frankly laughable in light of the massive spending that DOD has done for years on programs such as these. This from 2003; Though Defense has long been notorious for waste, recent government reports suggest the Pentagon's money management woes have reached astronomical proportions. A study by the Defense Department's inspector general found that the Pentagon couldn't properly account for more than a trillion dollars in monies spent. A GAO report found Defense inventory systems so lax that the U.S. Army lost track of 56 airplanes, 32 tanks, and 36 Javelin missile command launch-units. And before the Iraq war, when military leaders were scrambling to find enough chemical and biological warfare suits to protect U.S. troops, the department was caught selling these suits as surplus on the Internet "for pennies on the dollar," a GAO official said. Given these glaring gaps in the management of a Pentagon budget that is approaching $400 billion, the coming debate is shaping up as a bid to gain the high ground in the battle against waste, fraud and abuse Military waste under fire / $1 trillion missing -- Bush plan targets Pentagon accounting - SFGate If one wants to clean up the way Washington spends money, a good place to start would be at DOD. Many would see this as a limiting our defense needs, but I submit because Defense has become such a cash cow for the Defense industry and less of a partner for the warfighter, then reforming DOD would not hurt defense, rather it would help this nation and remind those contractors they are in the business of not only building items for a profit, they are also in the business of providing for the Defense of this nation.