Double Down

If he had a spare $100 million, Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Donald Hoffman said he’d “double down on the tanker.” Hoffman spoke Wednesday afternoon at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in a forum with most of the service’s top general officers. The new KC-X tanker program is expected to deliver 15-18 new aircraft a year; a rate that would see some KC-135Rs serving past their 80th year. That amount of money would be “enough to do something” of significance, Hoffman said, and a faster tanker buy would be his priority. However, noting that he has no such bounty to work with, Hoffman said necessity has compelled USAF to make many cuts in base operating support. He said that real property maintenance deferral is sometimes the factor that causes some airmen to leave, if their facilities are not well cared for. USAF could save money in recruiting and training new people if it maintained its facilities properly, Hoffman observed.