Need New Tanker Footprint

Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that the Air Force is moving ahead with its tanker replacement program, but the end result once the “two-decade-plus” effort is over may not be “a one-for-one replacement of KC-135 [aircraft].” He continued, “That being the case, there will probably be some footprint adjustments.” That’s when Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) asked the million dollar question, “There’s not a plan in place to move the refueling operations away from the [Air National] Guard to the active duty—is that fair to ask?” Schwartz assured the Senator, “The balance that we have right now, where the preponderance of the tanking capability actually is in the Guard and Reserve is likely to remain the case.”