A “milestone A” decision to get the JSTARS recapitalization program going is expected at the end of this month, Air Force acquisition chief William LaPlante said during a Center for Strategic and International Studies speech in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. What that means is that a “lengthy risk-reduction phase” will get underway, during which USAF will work with industry to find cost-effective solutions. He wants “as many as three teams under contract” doing the risk-reduction work, and from them, one will be chosen to press on into production, which is milestone B. He sees a JSTARS recap contract in three years, but cautioned that he’s “always worried” about funding for the program. Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall insists he will not approve a program go-ahead “if he’s not sure the service has fully funded” a program, especially if sequestration continues to haunt the budget. LaPlante said the program is funded in USAF’s budget … for now. (Watch LaPlante’s speech.) (LaPlante Powerpoint.)