Snubbing New York?

The Air Force has attracted the attention of the New York Congressional delegation by curtailing its use of Griffiss International Airport (at the former Griffiss Air Force Base outside Rome, N.Y.) as a forward training location for the E-3 AWACS command and control aircraft. The delegation and state and local officials penned a Nov. 7 letter to Gen. John Corley, head of Air Combat Command, complaining that USAF has not been “in communication with Congressional offices regarding AWACS training at Griffiss,” which the letter notes was to be suspended on Nov. 8. According to the lawmakers, including Sen. Hillary Clinton (D), Sen. Charles Schumer (D), and Rep. Michael Arcuri (D), the Air Force had conducted a six-month “validation process” that concluded with a decision to implement the Griffiss training flights that began in October. “After weeks of training operations … USAF is cancelling the AWACS forward training mission without explanation,” they wrote, asking for a 60-day delay in removing the AWACS equipment and aircraft so their staffs can meet with the Air Force. They reminded Corley that the Rome area had lost some 5,000 military and civilian jobs following BRAC 1993 and 1995 and subsequent closure of Griffiss Air Force Base and said the new AWACS mission provided a “significant economic boost” for the area.