C-17 Has “Greatest Potential”

C-17 Has “Greatest Potential”: Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), head of the influential appropriations defense panel, told Megan Scully of CongressDaily that he advocates buying more new C-17 airlifters—possibly at least another 30—as the system with “the greatest potential for serving us well” in deploying an expanded Army and Marine Corps. Air Force officials have said that they are revisiting both personnel cuts and equipment requirements in view of the Administration’s plan to permanently increase the ground forces by a total of 92,000 troops. However, that review won’t be complete until at least mid-summer and there is no funding in the 2008 budget proposal to keep the C-17 production line open beyond the current buy of 190 aircraft. Inouye says he is working with USAF to determine just how many more C-17s the service will need, so that he can include a proposal in the 2008 markup this summer. Inouye agrees with the Air Force, too, that retiring some of the worst C-5 airlifters is a good way to free up funds for additional C-17s.