An F-35 Lightning II flies alongside an F-16 Fighting Falcon June 25, 2015, at Luke Air Force Base. In October, F-35 and F-16 pilots began integrated training designed to improve mission cooperation and flight skills in both airframes. (Courtesy Photo)

GAO: DoD Should Share F35 Operational Lessons Across Military Services

A GAO report has found that DoD should share the F-35 operational lessons recorded by the Marine Corps on its own website across the military services.

At the moment, these lessons are not formally shared. Instead, Marine Corps officials stated that they currently rely on personal relationships to share lessons learned with other services, through methods such as phone calls to colleagues in the Air Force or the Navy.

DOD has emphasized the need for the services to collect and share lessons learned not only at a service-specific level, but across all services, and it established the Joint Lessons Learned Program in 2000 to enhance joint capabilities through knowledge management in peacetime and wartime. Joint Lessons Learned Program guidance discusses the importance of not only capturing lessons learned, but communicating lessons learned through a range of mechanisms to properly institutionalize those lessons, effectively enable joint force capabilities, and enhance interagency and multinational coordination.

Air Force and Navy officials told GAO that they document lessons learned from F-35 deployments in the form of after-action reports or observational briefings, but the F-35 program does not currently disseminate or make available lessons learned across all services.

Without the F-35 program office sharing or making available operational lessons learned through a new or existing communications mechanism, the services are at risk of not having access to key information that could affect their movements, exercises, operations, and sustainment of the aircraft in the Pacific and other areas where they operate. GAO recommends that the F-35 program executive officer should formally share or make available, through a new or existing communications mechanism, F-35 operational lessons learned across the services.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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