On July 4, 2011, we marked the 235th birthday of our great nation. You may have celebrated by attending a fireworks display or perhaps barbequing with friends and family. During your celebrations, I hope you also took time to reflect on what makes America such a great nation.

This greatness comes from the courageous men and women who protect our freedoms and the principles our nation was founded upon. Our military has been able to protect our nation because of the support of the best technology available, and it is our duty to ensure that our servicemen and women continue to be given this advantage.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a key component in protecting America’s air superiority. This fifth generation, multi-role, stealth fighter air-craft is built with technology so advanced that it cannot be retrofitted into our older aircrafts, which have been flying for nearly three decades. Over a decade of investments in time and technology have led to this unprecedented aircraft.

Congress needs to support the full funding and production of the F-35. America cannot maintain our air superiority with an air fleet that is close to 30 years old while other nations are strengthening their air power capabilities. We do not have a monopoly on this technology, and we cannot risk the security of our nation or the safety of our soldiers.

The F-35 is not only good for our military, but it will also strengthen our economy. In fact, forty-six Ohio manufacturers contribute to the production of parts for the Joint Strike Fighter. Nearly 4,400 skilled and experienced Ohioans are employed, producing the technology for the F-35. One cannot ignore the economic impact this program has here in Ohio, which is currently around $400 million. These numbers will increase significantly when the F-35 reaches its full production rate of nearly one plane per day.

Reducing the funding and/or production of the F-35 now would be a disaster. It would put our military and nation at risk while preventing us from reaping the full benefits of our long-term investment in this project.


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