As the former state Adjutant General's special executive assistant/advisor and Chief of Staff of the New Jersey Air National Guard, I remain keenly in tune to the initiatives that will ensure the safety and effectiveness of our armed forces.
This is not only shaped by my own experience, but that of my colleagues and family—my brother is a former Adjutant General of the Kansas National Guard and my father one of the most decorated officers in the history of the institution.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter holds tremendous strategic value to our armed forces and allied partners. Our current fleet of fighters is aging out of its intended lifespan and must be replaced. The F-35 provides the most sophisticated technology and the most cost effective option to replace the current fleet, including F-16’s currently being utilized by the mission at the 177th ANG Fighter Wing in Egg Harbor Township.
Also consider the economic impact of this program in the State of New Jersey – at $114 million annually and nearly 1,000 direct and indirect jobs. Supporting the F-35 program will ensure that we remain well-equipped to conquer any challenge ahead.
It is important for the public to know what's at stake; any compromise to this program puts our nation at risk.
Col. Al Bunting
Air National Guard (Ret.)