U.S. Representative McSally Questions Sec. of Defense Mattis on North Korea, Pushes More Funding for the A-10
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Martha McSally tonight questioned Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford during a House Armed Services Full Committee Hearing evaluating how the President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2018 addresses the military readiness crisis with respect to the military threat of North Korea and the crucial war-fighting capability of the A-10.
Rep. McSally asked Secretary Mattis to describe what military action would look like in North Korea, should diplomacy fail. “It would be a war like nothing we’ve seen since 1953,” said Defense Secretary Mattis. General Dunford added that although the U.S. would win a war against North Korea, there would be significant casualties in South Korea as well, saying “Seoul would get destroyed. 25 million people, 300,000 Americans—we won’t be able to mitigate that.”
In light of Mattis and Dunford’s testimony on the gravity of a potential war with North Korea, Rep. McSally asked about the priority status of the A-10 Warthog. One A-10 squadron is permanently stationed in South Korea and many others are tasked to deploy to the region during any major contingency.
“One the capabilities we would need in that scenario against North Korea is the mighty A-10 warthog. I was pleased to see in the President’s request fully funding the remaining 283 aircraft, which is nine operational squadrons—but we don’t have the funding to re-wing the remaining 110, otherwise, they’ll be grounded soon. Last week Air Force generals testified they are willing to cut 30% of the fleet down to six squadrons.
“If we were to provide the funding to re-wing the remaining 110, would you appreciate having those nine squadrons, given the threats we are facing?” asked Rep. McSally.
Mattis replied, “Absolutely…that would increase our war-fighting capabilities.”
Dunford agreed, and added, “there are more requirements than we have capability and capacity with just the current squadrons.”
Watch the exchange below:
In a hearing last week, Deputy Chief of Staff Air Force Lt. Gen. Harris testified that President’s budget request provided $17.5 million for the A-10 and that the Air Force is committed to keeping the A-10 flying through 2030. However, he also testified that the Air Force is only committed to funding a minimum of six A-10 squadrons.
Throughout the entirety of her time in Congress, Rep. McSally has resolutely fought to keep the A-10 as a war-fighting asset, successfully advocating to fully fund the A-10 fleet in both the 2016 NDAA and 2017 NDAA.