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Congressman John Larson

Representing the 1st District of Connecticut

F-35 Caucus Chairs Share Letter of Support for F-35 From 100+ Retired General Officers

May 2, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Congressional Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Caucus Co-Chairs, Reps. John B. Larson (CT-01), Marc A. Veasey (TX-33), Martha Roby (AL-02), and Michael R. Turner (OH-10), shared a letter signed by 128 retired General Officers in support of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

 “Earlier this week, more than a hundred General Officers who have served in the United States Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps reiterated our call to the appropriators and authorizers that now is the time to increase procurement to ensure our continued air dominance, enable the realization of cost savings, and assure our partners that we are committed to 5th Generation Aircraft.

“With Russia and China advancing their qualitative military edge, the 40-years old 4th generation legacy fighters are rapidly losing relevance in today’s battlefield. Investing in ‘new’ old aircraft does not align with congressional intent, presidential direction, nor does it align with the National Defense Strategy.  It is of unequivocal importance for Congress and the Pentagon to provide our men and women with the best equipment we can. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the world’s most advanced fighter capable of countering those threats,” said the Caucus Chairs. 

The full letter can be viewed here and below. 

 

April 30, 2019

 

The Honorable Adam Smith, Chairman

House Armed Services Committee 

2216 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Peter J. Visclosky, Chairman

House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee

H-405, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Mac Thornberry, Ranking Member

House Armed Services Committee 

2216 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Ken Calvert, Ranking Member

House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee

H-405, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chair and Ranking Member:

 

As former U.S. Flag Officers who have served in times of sequestration and military conflicts, we know the impact cutting costs from vital programs has on defense readiness. With China and Russia aggressively ramping up efforts to improve and modernize weapons, maintaining air superiority is essential to countering emerging threats both at home and abroad. Maintaining a competitive edge in the skies means our military must advance both capacity and capability of our fighter force with continued procurement of the world’s most advanced fighter, the F-35 Lightning II.

 

As the only 5th generation aircraft in production, the F-35 ensures air advantage over emerging peer adversaries through cutting-edge technologies. It is with the nation’s security interest in mind that we join the nearly 130 U.S. House and Senate Congressional members to request that the Congress increase the procurement rate of the F-35 within the Fiscal Year 2020 defense authorization and appropriations. It is essential that our Congress does not sacrifice funds from the F-35 program in favor of new 4th generation, legacy fighter programs with little operational relevance in a near peer conflict.

 

Winning in the modern battlespace requires stealth, advanced sensing capability, coalition interoperability, cyber security and ability to connect in a multi-domain conflict. The F-35 delivers on all these capabilities above and beyond any other fighter in the U.S. inventory or around the globe. It is the most advanced multi-role fighter– delivering unmatched lethality, survivability and connectivity.

 

Despite a National Defense Strategy (NDS) that calls for competing with near-peer threats, the DoD proposed funding in FY2020 for only 78 F-35’s, even though Congress appropriated 93 airplanes last year in FY2019. Additionally, the DoD has proposed funding a legacy, 4th generation aircraft that has limited survivability in a high-end fight today and is equipped with decades old technology. The 4th generation airframe is simply unable to win against near-peer threats, which are the biggest concern to our NDS.

 

The DoD Fiscal Year 2020 budget request of only 78 airplanes jeopardizes the ramp of the F- 35’s program production rate and presents a capability gap in our U.S. services that legacy aircraft simply cannot meet. We ask Congress to provide authorization and funding for 60 F- 35As (+12), 22 F-35Bs (+12), and 20 F-35Cs in Fiscal Year 2020. This is a total of 102 F-35 aircraft in FY 2020 defense authorization and appropriations bills, which is an increase of 24 aircraft over the President’s budget request.

 

This increase will reestablish the original F-35 production rates that in the past years have been tamped by sequestration era budget caps resulting from the Budget Control Act. The U.S. must start buying the F-35’s in larger quantities to reach the minimum 50% of 5th generation fighters in the timeframe required to meet the emerging global threat.

 

The aircraft is exceeding in performance with the U.S. Marine Corps executing a successful combat mission in Afghanistan with F-35B’s, to the Air Force reporting the F-35A reportedly logged a 28:1 kill ratio at the recent Red Flag exercise in Nevada. With the Navy recently declaring Initial Operational Capability, our three U.S. services and numerous ally partner countries are now flying more than 380 aircraft at 17 locations around the world.

 

To maintain air dominance and further decrease F-35 costs, it is vitally important that we continue to increase our nation’s only 5th generation stealth aircraft in production. Our congressional leaders must increase F-35 production and provide the necessary program investments in the upcoming defense authorization and appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2020 to keep the F-35 ahead of our adversaries.

 

Maintaining the most up-to-date, sophisticated technologies possible is fundamental for our country and allies to address growing threats from Russia and China.

 

Thank you for your consideration as you begin defense authorization and appropriations process for FY2020.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

T. Michael Moseley

General, USAF (Ret)

18th Chief of Staff

 

Thomas Hayward

Admiral, USN (Ret)

21st Chief of Naval Operations

 

John Jumper

General, USAF (Ret) 

17th Chief of Staff

 

Michael Ryan

General, USAF (Ret)

16th Chief of Staff

 

Merrill McPeak

General, USAF (Ret)

14th Chief of Staff

James Amos

General, USMC (Ret)

35th Commandant of the Marine Corps

Michael Aguilar

Brigadier General, USMC (Ret)

Granny Amos

Brigadier General, USMC (Ret)

Joseph Anderson

Major General, USMC (Ret)

David Architzel

Vice Admiral, USN (Ret)

Joseph Ashy

General, USAF (Ret)

Dana Atkins

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

John Baker

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Michael Basla

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Mark Beesley

Brigadier General, USAF (Ret)

William Begert

General, USAF (Ret)

Brent Bennitt

Vice Admiral, USN (Ret)

Brian Bishop

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Harold Blot

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Stanley Bozin

Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)

Tom Braaten

Major General, USMC (Ret)

 

Philip Breedlove

General, USAF (Ret)

John Brooks

Major General, USAF (Ret)

John Bullard

Brigadier General, USMC (Ret)

Darryl Burke

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Bobby Butcher

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Hugh Cameron

Brigadier General, USAF (Ret)

Henry Canterbury

Major General, USAF (Ret)

John Castellaw

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

 

Carrol Chandler

General, USAF (Ret)

Mark Clark

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Scott Van Cleef

Brigadier General, USAF (Ret)

Casey Coane

Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)

 

Donald Cook

General, USAF (Ret)

 

John D.W. Corley

General, USAF (Ret)

John Dailey

General, USMC (Ret)

Terry Dake

General, USMC (Ret)

Jon Davis

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Walter Davis

Vice Admiral, USN (Ret)

David Deptula

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Dan Dick

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Walter Druen

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

David Dunaway

Vice Admiral, USN (Ret)

Michael Dunn

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Neil Eddins

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Marvin Esmond

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Barbara Faulkenberry

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Gregory Feest

Major General, USAF (Ret)

 

Mark Fitzgerald

Admiral, USN (Ret)

Robert Flanagan

Brigadier General, USMC (Ret)

James Flock

Major General, USMC (Ret)

H.H. Forsythe

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Ray Fox

Major General, USMC (Ret)

John Gallinetti

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Emerson Gardner

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

John Goodman

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Mike Gould

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Ken Glueck

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Chip Gregson

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Earl Hailston

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Blair Hansen

Major General, USAF (Ret)

 

Richard Hawley

General, USAF (Ret)

David Heinz

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Sam Helland

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Charles Horner

General, USAF (Ret)

Jefferson Howell

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

James Hunt

Major General, USAF (Ret)

James Hyatt

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Gregory Ihde

Brigadier General, USAF (Ret)

Kenneth Israel

Major General, USAF (Ret)

L.D. Johnston

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Silas Johnson Jr.

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Jan-Marc Jouas

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Thomas Kilcline

Vice Admiral, USN (Ret)

Joseph Kilkenny

Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)

James Lair

Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)

William Lake

Brigadier General, USAF (Ret)

James Latham

Brigadier General, USAF (Ret)

Daniel Leaf

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Frederick Lewis

Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)

 

John Michael Loh

General, USAF (Ret)

 

William Looney III

General, USAF (Ret)

 

Steven Lorenz

General, USAF (Ret)

 

Robert Magnus

General, USMC (Ret)

James McArthur

Vice Admiral, Jr., USN (Ret)

Fred McCorkle

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Rich Mills

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Robert Milstead

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Carol Mutter

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Richard Natonski

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

 

Robert Natter

Admiral, USN (Ret)

 

Lloyd Newton

General, USAF (Ret)

 

Andrew O’Donnell, Jr.

Major General, USMC,(Ret)

Pete Osman

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Robert Otto

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Chris Owens

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Frank Panter

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Chip Parker

Brigadier General, USMC (Ret)

H.D. Polumbo

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Robert Polumbo

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Martin Post

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Douglas Raaberg

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Dave Richwine

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Gene Renuart General, USAF (Ret)

David Robinson

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Terry Robling

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Michael Ryan

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Robert Schmidle

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Don Shepperd

Major General, USAF (Ret)

John Simmons

Brigadier General, USMC (Ret)

Keith Stalder

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Denby Starling, II

Vice Admiral, USN (Ret)

Gregg Sturdevant

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Larry Stutzriem

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Peter Talleri

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Larry Taylor

Major General, USMC (Ret)

Duane Thiessen

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Steven Tomaszeski

Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)

John Toolan

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

George Trautman III

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Lance Undhjem

Major General, USAF (Ret)

Jerry Unruh

Vice Admiral, USN (Ret)

Loyd Utterback

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Tome Walters

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Randall West

Major General, USMC (Ret)

John Wissler

Lieutenant General, USMC (Ret)

Harry Wyatt

Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret)

Ron Yates

General, USAF (Ret)


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