Federal defense spending budget cuts could not only put our country’s defense at risk but also cost California jobs. Budget realities mean we have to cut spending – everywhere. And that includes Defense. That means some very tough budget battles ahead. My concern is we may be considering cutting capability, not just cost. That could be a critical mistake.

I spent 28 years in the military, both active and reserves, and during that time we built a military second to none with a technological edge that has kept us safe and deterred would be bad guys from wanting to test us.

I’ve teamed up with Lockheed Martin to keep the production the F35 Joint Strike Fighter in the budget. I’ve written a couple pieces for the Washington Examiner expressing my concerns about the looming the national security picture and the future. You can read the pieces dealing with the importance of maintaining our fighter defense capabilities here and here.

Additionally, especially in the case of California, it means jobs. California has 247 suppliers and 6,838 direct jobs tied to the project. California receives almost $1.4 billion dollars directly from the F35 Fighter project. Cancellation or the reduction of the number of aircraft bought will have a direct effect on a state already reeling from the financial downturn.

Since the Korean war we’ve never lost a single Soldier or Marine on the ground to an enemy aircraft because the technological edge we’ve maintained in fighter aircraft (and our pilots) have always been able to establish and keep air superiority over any battlefield we we’re on. Cutting funding for the F35 or the number to be purchased would put that record of 56 years in jeopardy. Russia is busy developing its 5th generation fighter (the T-50) and China just rolled its developmental version out last month – the J20.

The United States must keep its technological edge.

The issue about preserving the F35 is important not only to the California economy and jobs, but also for national security as well.