JCA Face-off Coming:

Apparently the Army vice chief of staff, Gen. Richard Cody, has made at least one call to further the Army’s push to retain control of its own fixed-wing tactical airlift capability, specifically the new Joint Cargo Aircraft. One call went to Sen. Carl Levin, who responded with some questions in a letter to Cody, a copy of which we obtained. The Army and Air Force jointly have pursued the JCA program, but lawmakers have been at odds over the role of the Army in tactical airlift. Some say the Army should continue to fly its own fixed wing airlifters, while others believe the issue is part of a larger roles and missions creep that has led to duplication of effort. The matter, writes Levin, will be subject of discussion in the conference over the 2008 defense authorization bill. He asked Cody to respond to eight questions by Oct. 12. Levin questions whether the Pentagon will gain greater effectiveness and efficiency from two services performing the same mission and why the Army believes the Air National Guard would provide “reduced support” compared to the Army National Guard if ANG flies the tactical airlift missions for homeland defense and disaster relief. (We’ve reproduced the letter here.)