A-10 Defenders Launch Assault on USAF

The Air Force’s proposal to divest the A-10 fleet came under renewed attack Wednesday as the House Armed Services Committee began marking up its version of the defense authorization bill. Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) confirmed he and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) would submit an amendment during the mark-up session that would prohibit USAF from retiring the A-10 in 2015. The amendment also directs the Government Accountability Office to conduct an assessment of USAF’s remaining combat fleet and its ability to conduct the close air support mission. Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), vice chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, also declared her support of the measure. HASC Chair Rep. Buck McKeon declared earlier in the week that he would support “type-1000” storage for the Warthog, but several senators later announced their skepticism of the proposal. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) released a statement opposing the move, calling it “short-sighted and dangerous.” Putting A-10s in type-1000 is not a compromise, they argue, and would mean units standing down, discontinued training, and reassignment of crews to other missions. “We believe prematurely divesting the A-10 would put our ground troops in serious additional danger in future conflicts,” they announced.