Assuring Syria CSAR

US Central Command is considering putting more combat search and rescue assets into Turkey to reinforce the US’ ability to retrieve potential downed airmen from Iraq or Syria, CENTCOM boss Army Gen. Lloyd Austin testified on Tuesday. “I think we have adequate CSAR capability, but in this business there’s no such thing as enough,” said Austin during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on March 3. Former A-10 pilot, Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), said, “I have concerns from talking to my colleagues in the military that there’s a pretty damning after-action report from the Jordanian pilot situation.” McSally acknowledged it “takes a very robust capability” to have rescue and close air support ready to “snatch them right away,” and said there could be “disastrous consequences, not just for them and their family, but strategically for our country” if downed pilots aren’t picked up right away. Austin assured her he “won’t put one pilot in the air” without “adequate means to recover those pilots.” McSally said the dozen A-10s currently deployed in theater are the only “Sandy” assets capable of armed escort and rescue coordination.