The value of the F-35 to Arizona and the nation
Dick Lesser, Veteran, United States Navy
After watching the final Presidential debate, I am glad to hear that the defense budget cuts scheduled for the first of the year have a chance of being revised. Both President Obama and Governor Romney indicated that the scheduled cuts may not go into effect. Both candidates also agreed that we need to lead the world in the best technology, and that we need to be prepared to meet whatever the future holds.
Even though the candidates differ on how to get there, they agreed that we have to be strong economically if we are to have a strong military and intelligence force to protect us in times of peril. The much-talked-about defense cuts would have a devastating effect on our military.
One of our biggest concerns is the production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It is imperative that we remain fully committed to this program – not only for our national security, but for our economy, right here in Arizona. The economic impact of this program is $91.7 million in Arizona, employing 1,178 people directly and indirectly. It is rarely mentioned that over 133,000 people around the country are employed producing parts and components for the F-35 program. Do we really want to risk losing thousands more high-skill jobs by not fully committing to the F-35 program?
Arizona’s Air Bases will be a main training center for the F-35. Whether it’s in the West Valley at Luke Air Force Base or at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona’s economy will benefit and our country will be stronger with the F-35. We must call on our legislators to commit to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.