U.S. Rep. McSally Leads A-10 Funding Effort
Letter signed by 18 House Members Urges Continued A-10 Funding
Washington, D.C. – In a letter request to House appropriators, Rep. McSally led a bipartisan group of 18 lawmakers to urge rejection of the Administration’s plan to divest the A-10 fleet beginning in Fiscal Year 2016. The letter shows across the aisle support in the House for keeping the A-10 funded and opposing the Administration’s plans to mothball the weapons system ahead of schedule.
“We recognize the challenges imposed by the Budget Control Act, but we believe that now is not the time to divest an aircraft that has demonstrated success in combat for decades and has saved lives, especially at a time when there is no suitable replacement,” the lawmakers said in the letter. “We urge you to reject the President’s request to divest the A-10 aircraft fleet in the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Appropriations bill.”
The letter represents the first step in officially requesting continued A-10 funding in the House. In April, the House Armed Services Committee, on which Rep. McSally serves as a member, will meet to mark up the National Defense Authorization Act, legislation to provide funding authorization for national defense operations.
During a subcommittee hearing today on the Armed Services Committee, Rep. McSally again questioned Air Force officials about the lack of replacement capabilities for the A-10 and EC-130, two aircraft housed at Davis-Monthan Air Force that the Administration has slated for divestment in Fiscal Year 2016. Both aircraft are currently deployed in combat operations overseas.
Video of Rep. McSally’s questioning can be seen HERE.
For a PDF of the letter, click HERE.
March 25, 2015
The Honorable Rodney Frelinghuysen The Honorable Pete Visclosky
Chairman Ranking Member
Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
H-405 The Capitol 1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky,
As the subcommittee prepares its Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Appropriations legislation, we respectfully ask for your support of the A-10 aircraft fleet.
The A-10 provides unmatched Close Air Support (CAS) capability, delivering firepower to save American lives when they are under fire in close proximity to enemy forces. The A-10 offers long loiter time, lethality, survivability, and the ability to strike moving targets in a complex visual fight. It can operate in rugged environments at all altitudes and under weather ceilings or with low visibility.
The A-10 also uniquely provides critical Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) capabilities, absolutely vital to ensure downed pilots do not meet the same fate as the Jordanian pilot who was captured and lit on fire by ISIS.
A-10s are currently deployed to the Middle East for CSAR and offensive operations in the fight against ISIS. They are also deployed to Europe to reassure and train our allies in CAS in the face of increased Russian aggression.
In a March 17th House Armed Services Committee hearing, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James and Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark Welsh both confirmed that mothballing the A-10 was driven by budget constraints only.
Over the past several Congresses, both chambers have successfully protected the A-10 fleet from complete divestment, but the equivalent of four squadrons have been mothballed since 2012. Over $1 billion has been invested recently in the A-10 to upgrade its avionics and strengthen its wings, extending its lifespan until 2028. However, the President’s Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2016 again directs the Air Force to divest the entire A-10 Fleet, starting with 160 aircraft in FY 16. This divestiture, particularly because of a lack of a similarly-capable replacement platform, puts Americans’ lives at risk.
We recognize the challenges imposed by the Budget Control Act, but we believe that now is not the time to divest an aircraft that has demonstrated success in combat for decades and has saved lives, especially at a time when there is no suitable replacement. We urge you to reject the President’s request to divest the A-10 aircraft fleet in the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Appropriations bill.