Here is some fun, alternate reality reading from someone who's livelihood depends on the F-35 program being happy unicorns.
A few points:
It is hard to claim, "there is nothing to see here" when the DOD F-35 program boss--Admiral David Venlet--states the original F-35 business plan (concurrency of enormous proportions) was a "miscalculation".
It is difficult to claim flight testing progress is great (it has improved) when it is compared to what we expected from the 2007 test plan.
The "hot spots" comment by Venlet can have a few meanings. One is that there are all kinds of predictions of fatigue. Interesting because there is so little fatigue testing done. The other "hot spots" Venlet could be referring to is all of the negative discovery he is yet to uncover. He is still on his own "learning curve".
All this points to a significantly lowered production of aircraft because the F-35 design is still unstable. You cannot have production "learning curve" until there is a stable design. Which is why anyone silly enough to want an immature F-35 this early will have a hard time finding production slots at 30-some per year.
Pilot training is significantly delayed. Simply because what they want to fly is nowhere close to being ready. That is a lot of resources tied up in Eglin AFB, doing other things than real training.
This produces several strategic risks. Allies are not going to get a credible air defense solution because the U.S. has lost its way. Soon, it will have no credible modern air domination fighter aircraft in production. If one is worried about emerging threats that are to exist during the alleged life of the F-35, a handful of F-22s may or may not solve the problem.
Industry is starting to approach the waterfall. Any SME that had their business plan tied to the alternate engine will shed those employees and resources. The promised volume of orders are missing by a large margin. For instance, LRIP-5 was supposed to be 120 aircraft. Now it is 30-some. SMEs could end up like Australia's Production Parts. Corporate carcasses.
There will not be 2400-some F-35s. Maybe some news sources will stop quoting those that spout such nonsense.
Now for some "life imitates art". Our "Dave" has a problem. If grown-ups don't start making some serious decisions that can minimize damage to the defense outlook of the U.S. and its allies, then when the drastic decision comes to kill the F-35 program, it may look something like this.