By Alan W. Dowd

F-35 Assembly Line
National Defense magazine reports that Lockheed Martin plans to take a page from the past in building the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by employing a moving assembly line to mass-produce the plane.

“The concept of moving lines has not been applied to military aircraft since World War II,” according to the magazine. To underscore the difference between the old/new way and the current way of assembling warplanes, National Defense points to the F/A-18, which “is being built at a rate of 42 aircraft per year.” Lockheed Martin plans to build 230 F-35s each year—“roughly one aircraft per working day."

The high tempo is necessary given the F-35’s high demand: The Air Force, Navy and Marines will take delivery of the next-generation warplane, and at least eight allied militaries plan to buy variants of the F-35.

Making History
Army General Ann Dunwoody has become the first female four-star general in US history.

“Her 33 years of service, highlighted by extraordinary leadership and devotion to duty, make her exceptionally qualified for this senior position,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates in nominating Dunwoody.

Now commander of the Army Materiel Command, Dunwoody was commissioned in 1975. She has served as deputy chief of staff, Logistics as well as commanding general of Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee, according to the Pentagon.

The DoD reports that there are 57 active-duty female general officers.

As a contributing editor to The American Legion Magazine, Dowd writes columns and news briefs on national security, foreign affairs and U.S. politics each month for the magazine's "Rapid Fire" section.