Western Base May Be Less Robust

Ongoing money woes have forced Air Force Special Operations Command to scale back its buildup at Cannon AFB, N.M. When it first unveiled its plan to take over Cannon and establish a long-cherished western special ops facility, AFSOC expected to place more than 100 aircraft and about 5,700 personnel at the New Mexico base. However, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, DOD officials say “funding constraints” likely will cut the numbers to about 68 aircraft and 4,000 personnel. Essentially, fewer aircraft means fewer people. AFSOC’s buildup would peak at 2010, leveling off after that, according to data provided to GAO by the command in November 2007. However, GAO predicts an even slower buildup. AFSOC had projected it would need about $516.6 million to establish its western base, with the bulk—about $407 million—going toward military construction to revamp Cannon facilities to accommodate larger and different aircraft. However, so far, it has been able to program only $283.3 million. GAO began looking at the plans for Cannon during its review of expenses under BRAC 2005, which directed USAF to find the base a new mission to follow its loss of F-16s.