Call for Pitches: Community impacts of the F-35 bombers, at home & abroad

Toward Freedom is soliciting articles on the community impacts of the F-35 bombers, from squandered tax revenue to high-decibel noise pollution and resulting displacement, from the creep of militarization to the potential impacts of a crash. We hope to hear from journalists working in cities & regions impacted by the F-35s who can share and connect local voices and experiences with a global struggle against the military-industrial complex. 

F-35 warplanes overhead, in the mountains of Afghanistan or the desert plains of Iraq, could be the last sight in the sky before a bombing. But there are also life-changing risks connected to the F-35s for people living in one of the many cities in the US, England, Norway, or Japan slated to host the fighter jets within the coming years. 

The F-35 isn’t just any warplane: tests so far have been limited so its safety is unestablished, the plane is coated with a toxic outer layer, and noise from the bombers could seriously impact the lives of those below their flight path. The planes have nuclear capabilities and are a key element of the United States nuclear attack strategy. The program to develop the F-35s, which is led by Lockheed Martin, has already cost a trillion dollars. Though not without its economic benefits, the addition of F-35s to Air National Guard bases, which often also serve as commercial airports, brings the Air Force’s problem child in close proximity to neighborhoods around the country. 

The proposed basing of the F-35 bombers in some of the country’s most livable and progressive cities,  including Burlington (Vermont), Boise, Madison, Tucson (where they are on an Air Force base), Selfridge (Michigan), Montgomery and Jacksonville, is a matter of deep concern for local residents. It is also a clear example of the militarization of everyday life. 

Potential articles we would like to see proposed or written as part of this dossier:

-Who is involved in the process for deciding where the F-35s will be based, and how is that process playing out?

-How are local & state politicians being lobbied in favor of the F-35s? What kind of promises are being made about jobs, and how accurate are these promises?

-Over $2.3 billion has been allocated to make spare parts for the F-35, and we know these parts will be made in states across the US. But how are basing cities being brought on board?

-What is the relationship between the Air Force and the Air National Guard, and what is the AF strategy with regards to the F-35s?

-Where is it likely the F-35s will be deployed? What is their capacity to kill and do damage (nuclear)?

-How does the Active Duty Associate component of the F-35 program contribute to the militarization of everyday life in basing cities?

-Lockheed Martin and Boeing are competing for Department of Defense money. What are the effects of this on commercial and military airline safety?

If you would like to write an article for this dossier, please send a short pitch to You can see our submission guidelines here.