After spending $265 million developing a replacement for the vital Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System — JSTARS — Air Force leaders suddenly have decided to rethink the whole effort. They want to do yet another analysis of alternatives to determine if there is a better way of tracking moving ground targets. There isn’t. Five previous analyses led us to the current replacement effort, which is called JSTARS Recap. It appears the proposal to launch another analysis is just a ruse to jettison the whole mission, which would be the latest instance of the Air Force letting down soldiers who rely on its support. We went through a similar exercise two years ago, when the Air Force wanted to get rid of the A-10 Thunderbolt II close air support plane on which Army tactical commanders depend. Congress compelled the Air Force to keep the A-10 in service, and it needs to stop the cancellation of JSTARS Recap too. Without the reconnaissance JSTARS and its planned successor provide to troops on the ground, U.S. casualties could be much worse in a future war. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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