Asking Too Much for CRAF?

The Congressional Budget Office questions whether a DOD proposal to guarantee a greater share of flights for the Air Force’s Civil Reserve Air Fleet program once the war on terror surge dies down is really necessary. DOD worries that once the war on terror surge is gone, there will be less incentive for carriers to join the CRAF force. In a new report, CBO argues that there might not be “a large adverse effect” on the air transportation industry because, even in the midst of the war effort, CRAF provides only about five percent of the total cargo revenues and about two percent of passenger revenues. Even for the three smaller cargo companies that received about 80 percent of CRAF business in 2006, CBO believes data shows they “could accommodate a [CRAF] reduction.” CRAF business currently is split into “fixed buy,” the known part, and “expansion buy,” to cover additional needs as they arise. DOD wants to provide a fixed buy that is 50 percent higher than was offered before 2002, and that says CBO would mean DOD “would run some risk of having to pay for services it might not use.”