Read Our Lips, No More C-17s

Senior Defense Department officials reiterated the Pentagon’s message on Capitol Hill Tuesday that there is no need for additional C-17 transports beyond the 223 already programmed. “We do not need anymore C-17s,” Maj. Gen. Susan Desjardins, Air Mobility Command’s director of strategic plans, requirements, and programs, told the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee’s finance panel. She noted that the current strategic airlift fleet “is a strong fleet and it is right-sized.” Mike McCord, principal deputy undersecretary in OSD’s comptroller office, testified that DOD has studied this issue extensively. “While the possibility is always out there” that the US military’s strategic airlift requirements will turn out to be greater than estimated, the Air Force already has excess C-5s and C-17s, he said. So far, Congress hasn’t added any C-17s to Fiscal 2011 defense legislation. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates has warned Congress he’d recommend that President Obama veto any legislation that does include money for them. (Desjardins prepared remarks) (McCord-Estevez written testimony)