Theres no doubt that government shutdowns and defense cuts can have a profound negative impact on upstate New York, especially in the area in and around Fort Drum.
Throw in a slowdown in manufacturing growth, and it becomes more important than ever to do what we can to prevent any job losses including any potential cuts to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The F-35 is the most advanced multi-role fighter ever built, and, for New Yorkers, it means more than 3,500 related direct and indirect jobs along with $600 million pumped into our economy.
These high-tech jobs are essential, not only for todays workforce but for recent college graduates and discharged military personnel. They keep New York on the map as a major player in advanced technology, something that can bring in even more potential employers to help rebuild and grow our economy.
The F-35 is a vital part of our nations defense. As a retired Marine and Vietnam War veteran, I know all too well the horrors of combat, especially the hardships faced by our troops on the ground. I believe the F-35, by providing air superiority in the decades to come, will help protect the lives of our military and civilians and the lives of our key allies.
Recent reports show the F-35 program as more viable than ever, too, with huge successes in real world flight testing and recent projections that the fighters will cost 20 percent less than previously estimated to operate and support. Everyone, especially New Yorks congressional delegates, should do what they can to support the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.