Check out this Tech Central Station entry for a quick summary of the Comanche program kill and how the logic that convinced the Army to drop the helicopter could be applied to darling programs in the other services. For the Air Force is this:
The service is weighed down by an absurd overinvestment of close to $200 billion in new short-range tactical fighters. The service should radically scale back or cancel its participation in the joint strike fighter program, so that the service can get on with building the aircraft this country really needs, such as a new, long-range stealthy bomber.
Personally, I don’t have any issues with the Joint Strike Fighter. Sure, it’s an incremental improvement over our current F/A-18s in the Navy and Marines and the F-15Es (among others) in the Air Force, but at least it’s a plane with a mission that will be required, unlike some other fighter projects.
As for long-range stealthy bombers, I agree that R&D should go on. I don’t have any real issues with the 2040 target date for a new bomber, though, and I’m not sure that we would gain much by pushing this up. What we really need are more big dumb JDAM platforms and close air support planes like the A-10.