McKeon’s Mark Limits Aircraft Retirements

The Air Force would not be able to retire its U-2 fleet next year, nor divest any KC-10 tankers, and would face constraints on how it could phase out A-10 aircraft if Congress adopts the version of the Fiscal 2015 defense policy bill that Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), House Armed Services Committee chairman, put forth on Monday. McKeon’s proposal, issued two days before the May 7 markup by the full committee, would prohibit the Air Force from making “significant changes to retire, prepare to retire, or place U-2 aircraft in storage.” It would prevent any divestiture of KC-10s, something service officials have warned they’d be forced to do if budget sequestration stays in effect. His mark stipulates that the Air Force may only retire A-10s if it places them in type-1000 storage, meaning in near-flyaway condition, to facilitate their potential quick return to service. McKeon’s bill authorizes $521.3 billion overall in spending for national defense purposes, plus $79.4 billion for overseas contingency operations, levels he said are consistent with President Obama’s budget request. McKeon rejects the Pentagon’s call for another BRAC round and opposes cuts to Tricare, housing allowances, and commissary benefits. (H.R. 4435 chairman’s mark; caution, large-sized file.) (H.R. 4435 fact sheet) (See also HASC Panel Seeks Comptroller Review of F-35 and House Panel Proposes Executive Agent for Cyber Training.)