Arizona state and local officials met with Air Force leaders last week to urge them to put the new F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter at Luke Air Force Base. In a Dec. 9 statement, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard called the Pentagon session with Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz “positive and productive.” Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett, who noted that the top two Air Force leaders are “very aware of activities occurring both on the base and in the surrounding community,” said the meeting enabled the Arizona officials to demonstrate that “the West Valley cities are firmly committed to the base and its airmen.” Luke has been the object of a zoning controversy that potentially poses an encroachment issue, but Goddard assured the service leaders over “state and local requirements put into effect to protect the base.” Luke was on the Air Force list of some 41 potential locations for the F-35 released in January, however, it was not on a purported “shortlist” leaked in October. According to statement from Goddard’s office, Luke is “currently a finalist” to become a primary training base for the F-35.
In his final keynote address before retiring as Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force, Roger A. Towberman reflected on the progress of the Space Force and the growth still ahead at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Sept. 12, 2023. Watch the video or read the transcript.