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Congressman Austin Scott

Representing the 8th District of Georgia

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GA Delegation Members Urge Continued Pentagon Support of Critically Important JSTARS Fleet

July 28, 2017
Press Release
Georgia Delegation Members send letter to Air Force Secretary urging continued support in efforts to recapitalize the ageing E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) fleet.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Georgia Congressional Delegation, led by U.S. Representatives Austin Scott (GA-08) and Sanford Bishop (GA-02), sent a bipartisan letter to The Honorable Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, urging the Air Force’s continued support of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) mission as it faces delays in its efforts to recapitalize the aging fleet.                                     

“We are very concerned that the recapitalization of the existing E-8C aircraft will continue to be unnecessarily delayed despite repeated efforts by Congress to accelerate the acquisition of replacement aircraft to reduce the operational cost of the current legacy fleet and increase operational mission readiness,” wrote the Members. “Every Combatant Commander says they need more JSTARS assets in their theater. Further delay in acquiring a lower-cost, more operationally-capable business jet platform is unacceptable. We look to your leadership to ensure that the JSTARS Recapitalization contract is awarded in October of this year as planned and that you consider all available options to accelerate the acquisition schedule.”

The JSTARS fleet, which is based at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, provides critical airborne surveillance, intelligence, and command and control to the U.S. military through on-board radar and computer subsystems equipment that gathers and distributes detailed battlefield information.

Earlier this month, Rep. Scott was successful in securing $417 million for the JSTARS Recapitalization program and $13.8 million for the current legacy fleet of 16 E-8C aircraft in the House passage of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Rep. Scott was also able to negotiation through the amendment process an additional $23.1 million to make critical equipment upgrades to maintain viability until the current fleet is replaced by the Recapitalization program beginning in the late 2020s. Click here to read more.

Joining Reps. Scott and Bishop on today’s letter were Representatives Buddy Carter (GA-01), Drew Ferguson (GA-03), Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Tom Graves (GA-14), David Scott (GA-13), Doug Collins (GA-09), Rob Woodall (GA-07), Jody Hice (GA-10), Karen Handel (GA-06), Rick Allen (GA-12), and Hank Johnson (GA-04).

Click here to read today’s letter. Additionally, the text of the letter is below:

July 21, 2017

The Honorable Heather Wilson

Secretary of the Air Force

1670 Air Force Pentagon

Washington, DC 20330-1670

Dear Secretary Wilson:

Congratulations on your confirmation as the 24th Secretary of the Air Force.  We look forward to working with you in support of the exceptional men and women of the U.S. Air Force who serve our great nation and we pledge our help in providing the resources you need to accomplish your critical national security mission.

Georgia is the proud host of installations from all branches of military service that are crucial to our national and global security.  Robins AFB, home of the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) mission, supported by both active duty and National Guardsmen, is one of those installations.   We stand united behind Robins AFB and the unique and vital combat capacity the E-8C JSTARS aircraft provide to our warfighters.

We are very concerned, however, that the recapitalization of the existing E-8C aircraft will continue to be unnecessarily delayed despite repeated efforts by Congress to accelerate the acquisition of replacement aircraft to reduce the operational cost of the current legacy fleet and increase operational mission readiness.  The current acquisition schedule will cause at least a one-year capability gap, and the Air Force will have fewer than 10 of these high-demand aircraft operationally available for nearly a decade. 

Every Combatant Commander says they need more JSTARS assets in their theater.  Further delay in acquiring a lower-cost, more operationally-capable business jet platform is unacceptable.  We look to your leadership to ensure that the JSTARS Recapitalization contract is awarded in October of this year as planned and that you consider all available options to accelerate the acquisition schedule. 

Be assured you have our support in Congress to help you move the JSTARS recapitalization program forward.

Sincerely,

Representative Austin Scott

Representative Sanford Bishop

Representative Buddy Carter

Representative Drew Ferguson

Representative Barry Loudermilk

Representative Tom Graves

Representative David Scott

Representative Doug Collins

Representative Rob Woodall

Representative Jody Hice

Representative Karen Handel

Representative Rick Allen

Representative Hank Johnson

 

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