American Forces Press Service News Article

DoD's Military Chiefs Urge Congress to Restore F-22 Funds


 WASHINGTON - With one strong voice, the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
 and commanders from all of DoD's unified commands have told 
 Congress that development of the F-22 jet fighter is essential 
 to the nation's defense.
 In a July 28 letter to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, the 
 Joint Chiefs said the House Appropriations Committee's July 22 
 vote to cut $1.8 billion in procurement funding for the F-22 
 "puts in jeopardy our military modernization program."
 "Lessons over the last 50 years have taught us that air 
 superiority is the prerequisite for successful military 
 operations. It allows our forces to deploy and establish a 
 logistic infrastructure, provides warfighting commanders the 
 freedom to maneuver forces to gain the advantage, and permits 
 offensive operations in hostile territory. Quite simply, since 
 the addition of airpower to the tools of warfare, no major 
 military campaign has succeeded without air superiority," the 
 Joint Chiefs wrote.
 The F-22 Raptor is intended to replace the Air Force's F-15C 
 Eagle, which will be 30 years old when the F-22 is scheduled to 
 become operational in 2005. DoD believes the F-22's combination 
 of stealth technology, speed and integrated avionics will give 
 pilots unparalleled air superiority for the next three decades. 
 The Air Force plans to buy 339 F-22s at a cost of $187 million 
 each. Air Force officials predict cutting the F-22 budget could 
 spell the end of the program or, at the very least, push the 
 aircraft's initial operating capability back from 2005 to 2007 
 and add $6.5 billion to the program's cost.
 "As the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responsible for assuring the most 
 secure environment for the employment of our forces, we speak 
 with one voice on this issue: America needs the F-22 to ensure 
 our military forces always achieve air superiority in any 
 conflict," the Joint Chiefs emphasized.
 Full texts of the letters by the Joint Chiefs and the 
 commanders of DoD's unified commands are posted on the Web at