ACC Won’t Cancel Exercises Despite Disaster Aid Delay

An F-22 Raptor taxis on the flightline during the Combat Archer 19-8 exercise at Tyndall AFB, Fla., on May 14, 2019. Air Force photo by A1C Monica Roybal.

The Air Force doesn’t plan to cancel any upcoming training exercises as it waits for Congress to pass a disaster-aid supplemental funding bill, despite what the service’s vice chief of staff told lawmakers earlier in May.

“ACC has looked into the possibility of having to cancel training exercises,” a command spokeswoman told Air Force Magazine May 30. “To date, all ACC exercises continue to be executed as planned.”

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson said at a May 9 House Armed Services readiness subcommittee hearing the service would need to start canceling some major exercises in June if no supplemental funding has been approved to pay for storm recovery at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Offutt AFB, Neb., and other installations. But with June around the corner and a spending bill stalled on Capitol Hill, Wilson’s prediction hasn’t come to pass.

“No decisions have been made to cancel any ACC exercises and we are taking as many actions as possible to avoid this detrimental decision and impact on readiness,” the ACC spokeswoman said.

The Air Force requires around $5 billion from 2019-2021 to rebuild its storm-ravaged facilities, though that estimate is subject to change and does not include the cost to restore military housing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, that was damaged by a tornado on May 27. Tyndall’s restoration effort is not issuing new contracts until the funds come through, and the Air Force says it will similarly freeze work at Offutt in July, cut thousands of flying hours by the fall, and more without additional appropriations.