Speeding Up JSTARS Replacement

A senator from Georgia has proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would require the Air Force to speed up the JSTARS recapitalization program. The amendment, filed by Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), requires Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to fund JSTARS recapitalization as a rapid acquisition program “in order to achieve initial operating capability by not later than 2023 and full operating capability by not later than 2027,” according to a copy of the amendment obtained by Politico. In April, Perdue said in a speech on the Senate floor that the JSTARS fleet must be replaced, “and the sooner we get started, the better.” The House Armed Services Committee also wants to speed up JSTARS recapitalization, and included a provision in its version of the NDAA that would require Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James to brief HASC on options for moving initial operational capability to Fiscal 2022 or 2023. Though senators were expected to begin debate on the NDAA on Wednesday, Democrats blocked a motion by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz) to consider the bill, Politico reported.