Chambliss Pleads the Fifth

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) urged Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to commit fully to expeditiously fielding the fifth generation F-35 strike fighter and forego procuring any additional fourth generation fighters like the F/A-18E/F. “I am dismayed to see an apparent lack of commitment by some in the Department to the success of this cornerstone program, which will ensure tactical air superiority for US forces for decades to come,” he wrote in a letter to Panetta dated Aug. 31. Chambliss specifically cited the Navy for reportedly mulling another buy of F/A-18E/Fs “at the expense of the F-35.” Such 4th Gen fighters, he argued, “will be of limited to no value in any future threat scenario, and will only drain scarce budgetary resources from systems designed to keep us ahead of our adversaries.” He added, “Air superiority is and always will be the necessary foundation for any successful large-scale military operation.”