The Detroit Regional Chamber supports the efforts to increase the production output of the F-15EX fighter jet and any efforts to fly missions out of Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
With the aging A-10 slated for retirement, the Detroit Region needs to collaborate with business and government leaders on efforts to protect the state’s defense capabilities, as well as the multitude of precision manufacturing jobs created by every plane stationed in Harrison Township.
Among these strong leaders and their efforts is Rep. John James (R-10), who spoke with Paul W. Smith on WJR in early November on the issue and his work to enhance this industry in the Detroit Region. James explained that because Michigan has already lost three different investment opportunities over the last generation, losing this one will risk Michigan falling behind in the defense industry.
“I submitted an amendment to the authorization for National Defense to increase capacity to build these aircrafts, to increase the likelihood that [Selfridge] would get matters here by increasing the capacity,” James said. “So that by the time the A-10 [Thunderbolt II] is slated to retire, we would have 2024 new aircraft already been produced and Selfridge would be first on the list.”
These new fighter jets would directly benefit the local economy, contributing to Michigan’s $14 billion in defense-related spending. One estimate of the older generation F-15 generated nearly $8 million in local economic activity from one plane stationed at a base; with Selfridge able to house five planes, the Detroit Region could see an economic impact of $40 million or more.
“One of the great things we can do is we can claw back some of this unnecessary, wasteful spending in other areas,” he said. “And we can bring that back and invest it in our supply chains here. The number one manufacturing hub in the in the nation is right here in the 10th Congressional District.”
The Chamber applauds James’ continued support for the Arsenal of Democracy and his work to create jobs in Michigan while protecting national security.