Research: Publications

Promising the Sky: Pork Barrel Politics and the F-35 Combat Aircraft

January 22, 2014 | Report

By William D. Hartung

Download PDF | HTML Version

Lockheed Martin claims that the development and construction of the F-35 combat aircraft sustains 125,000 jobs in 46 states. The company describes the F-35 as “the single largest job creator in the Department of Defense program.” Lockheed Martin’s numbers have been routinely reported in the media, and have become a mainstay of the debate over the fate of the F-35 program.

There’s just one problem with Lockheed Martin’s assertions about F-35 job creation. They are greatly exaggerated, as documented in this report.

According to William D. Hartung, the report's author, Lockheed Martin’s claim of 125,000 F-35-related jobs is roughly double the likely number of jobs sustained by the program. The real figure, based on standard estimating procedures used in other studies in the field, should be on the order of 50,000 to 60,000 jobs.

Similarly, the company’s claim that there is significant work being done on the F-35 in 46 states does not hold up to scrutiny. Even by Lockheed Martin’s own estimates just two states – Texas and California – account for over half of the jobs generated by the F-35. The top five states, which include Florida, Connecticut and New Hampshire – account for 70% of the jobs.

Given the uncertainties surrounding the F-35 program, which has been identified as a possible budget-cutting target by a wide range of non-governmental and governmental bodies, it makes sense for communities that are looking to the F-35 as an important part of their economic futures to develop fallback plans that can be implemented in the event of the cancellation or scaling back of the F-35 program.

Report in the Press

Bloomberg Politiics

Dallas Business Journal


Standard Examiner



Los Angeles Times


The Hill

Foreign Policy



The American Prospect

Fort Worth Business Press

US News

National Review


The Fiscal Times



Download PDF | HTML Version

CIP in the Press
  • At the Pentagon, Nothing Succeeds Like Failure

    William D. Hartung quoted

    Anti War Blog, 10-26-16

    The Pentagon, Hartung notes, continues to receive massive funding from the American taxpayer, even as its various wars drag on, seemingly without end...Read More »

  • The Heat: Battle for Mosul

    Stephen Miles interviewed

    CCTV America, 10-24-16

    Ever since ISIL fighters captured the city of Mosul in Northern Iraq in June 2014, it has been a vital stronghold for them. But now there is a major military effort underway to drive the militants out of Mosul. Over the last week thousands of Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, with the assistance of United States military advisers, have launched an offensive to free the city...Read More »

  • Darcy Burner will get us back on track

    Darcy Burner quoted

    Issaquah Reporter , 10-23-16

    We must be committed to peace and prosperity for the American worker. As both the owner of a successful small manufacturing company and a full-time mother, Darcy understands the struggles we working parents face. She's exactly what we need to put the Pacific Northwest front and center in the global economy of the new millennium...Read More »