Roby: Congress must continue to support the F-35 Program
In December of 2017, the U.S. Air Force announced that the Alabama National Guard’s 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field in Montgomery was selected for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter mission. I was honored to participate in the efforts to bring this coveted mission to the River Region, and I am incredibly proud of the men and women of the 187th who demonstrated the professionalism and capability that ultimately made this happen.
The F-35 is the military’s most cutting-edge war machine that will eventually replace many Cold War-era fighters like the F-16 Falcons currently flown by the 187th. This mission will provide a tremendous boost to the Montgomery area, and it will significantly enhance Alabama’s already large military footprint.
Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked alongside my colleagues to rebuild and properly support our military and its critical national security programs after many years of devastating cuts under the Obama Administration. Most recently, I was proud to vote in favor of legislation for Fiscal Year 2019 that provides strong support for the important defense missions that happen in Alabama’s Second District at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base and Fort Rucker. Specifically, this defense bill allocates funding for 93 additional F-35 aircraft as well as the largest pay raise for our troops in nine years.
This conversation about defense funding, especially for our missions in the Second District, is especially timely right now as discussions about Fiscal Year 2020 funding begin this month. Each year, the President maps out his Administration’s funding priorities and sends them over to the Legislative Branch for members of Congress to draft into legislation, debate, amend, and ultimately vote on. Throughout his presidency, President Trump has demonstrated a strong commitment to our military, and I expect we will see this dedication reflected in his Fiscal Year 2020 budget request as well.
In the House, I will continue to be a vocal advocate for proper defense funding, for the sake of our national security and the installations in our district. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Joint Strike Fighter Caucus, I recently joined some of my colleagues in cosponsoring H. Res. 177, which recognizes the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as a critical component of our country’s national security efforts.
As we work to replace some of our military’s more antiquated, outdated aircraft, and as we move forward with negotiations for our Fiscal Year 2020 budget priorities, it is critical that President Trump and Congress continue to provide adequate support for the development and procurement of this next-generation fighter. The F-35 program is very important to our national security and maintaining our military’s position as tip of the spear. I will continue to strongly support this mission in Congress, and I look forward to soon having this innovative fighter jet in Montgomery.
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is a Republican from Montgomery.