Out with Two JSFs?

Two House committees may be at odds over USAF plans to include purchase of two F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in the 2007 supplemental war funding request. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), chairman of the House Armed Services air and land forces panel, said publicly on Wednesday that he opposes including money for the new fighters in the supplemental, even though the Air Force says they will replace F-16s lost in combat. On the other hand, the House Appropriations defense panel, during a hearing Monday with Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Gen. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff, seemed inclined to support the service’s rationale. At least there were no cries of foul during questioning. USAF has lost four fighters to combat—two F-16s, an F-15E, and an A-10. However, Abercrombie doesn’t think waiting three years for replacements—even if it is two for four—justifies inclusion in war funding.