Stars and Stripes reports that "Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel expressed strong support for the Joint Strike Fighter program Thursday, a week after the entire F-35 fleet was grounded due to safety concerns."
“'I believe this aircraft is the future for our fight aircraft for our services. This is as big a project…as we have at the Department of Defense, and we’ve got a lot riding on this aircraft, as well as eight partners around the world who have invested in this aircraft,' Hagel told troops at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla."
"Eglin, home to the F-35 Integrated Training Center, is a key training location for Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy Joint Strike Fighter pilots and maintainers."
"But the fleet was grounded by Air Force and Navy technical air worthiness authorities on July 3 based on the initial findings from an investigation into a runway fire at Eglin that occurred on June 23, according to a Pentagon statement."