This week U.S. Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) led a North Carolina delegation effort to fight for Fleet Readiness Center East (FRC East) at MCAS Cherry Point. The effort comes in response to recent news that the Department of Defense is reevaluating where repair work on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will occur. FRC East had expected to receive JSF repair work on at least the Marine Corps version of the JSF.
In a letter sent to Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ashton Carter, Congressman Jones urged the Pentagon to take advantage of the resources at Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) East when considering options for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Depot Source of Repair Decisions. The bipartisan letter was also signed by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kay Hagan (D-NC), Congressmen Howard Coble (NC-6) and G.K. Butterfield (NC-1), and North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue. Jones and his colleagues implored Secretary Carter to use the cost-effective resources provided by FRC East, while also keeping the Cherry Point community and legislators updated on the decision process.
"The personnel at FRC East and MCAS Cherry Point are the best in the world at what they do, and their capability should not be overlooked," said Jones.
The text of the letter is below:
"Dear Secretary Carter:
Your August 7th memorandum regarding Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Depot Source of Repair Decisions raises issues that are very important to us and the citizens of North Carolina. Like you, we are committed to ensuring that our military can achieve the required level of readiness in a cost-effective way. As you evaluate the various JSF depot options, we urge you to take full advantage of the excellent resources at FRC East, a tenant command aboard MCAS Cherry Point. FRC East is a center of excellence in lift fan and jet engine repair. It is perfectly positioned to provide the cost-effective impact and excellent work that you desire. There is no better qualified or dedicated workforce to handle the JSF than at FRC East.
Equally important, we urge you to involve us and, if at all possible, the local Cherry Point community directly in the study process when you evaluate FRC East. JSF depot decisions must be driven by national security and cost, of course, but local commitment to the installation and a skilled workforce also directly impact your plans. To overlook the high value the Cherry Point region brings to FRC East would be a mistake. We want to ensure that your staff gets the information it needs to make a decision in the most effective way possible.
It is very important that you keep us informed with regular updates and, whenever possible, involved directly in your assessment of the JSF depot options."