An Open Letter to Mr. Jumper

Dear General John P. Jumper (ret.),

How long has it been – almost 18 months? Is that all since you were the reigning chief of staff of the US Air Force?

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention since you’ve likely donned the uniform of a highly-paid industry “consultant”.

If you haven’t, I bet you’d be surprised.

Your successors in the air force seem to have been hell-bent on dismantling every last shred of your legacy, which, come to think of it, does seem to get weirder and weirder the further it turns into retrospect.

The door of the Pentagon parking garage had barely closed as you left in your car for the last time in November 2005 before your former colleagues pulled the plug on one of your favorite pet projects: buying hundreds of short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) F-35Bs.

What were you thinking when you proposed that back in February 2004, anyway?

But let’s talk about the E-10A Multi-sensor Command and Control Aircraft (MC2A) for a moment, shall we? If any one piece of technology defined your tenure, that was your baby, wasn’t it?

Well then, what the heck was all that about?

Perhaps you noticed when Northrop Grumman formally announced earlier this week that they had formally killed the E-10A. The aircraft’s two big features – a Wide Area Surveillance radar and the Battle Management Command and Control system – are being looked at as an upgrade to the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS).

So, if the air force could have put both of those things on JSTARS in the first place, what was the point of buying a whole new fleet of Boeing 767s?

While I’m asking all these crazy questions, what the heck is going to happen to the so-called E-10A testbed – the $126 million 767-400ER ordered from Boeing that should probably be delivered by now? What does the air force now do with one 767-400ER?

On second thought, don’t answer my questions. Just go back to your retirement, and leave the air force alone for a while.

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