The Legacy Cut Stands

Although Gen. Norton Schwartz, USAF Chief of Staff, acknowledged Wednesday during an Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis-Fletcher School conference in Washington, D.C., that the planned slowdown in F-35 strike fighter production (see above, The “Less Ambitious” F-35 Program) would leave the Air Force with “less margin” for its aging fighter force, he said the service still plans to cut a number of legacy fighters this year. That is, if it can get Congress on board. The Air Force announced its plan last spring to retire early about 250 F-15s, F-16s, and A-10s from active and reserve units. Since then, lawmakers have asked for more details, and finally included language in the 2010 defense appropriations bill that would temporarily delay such retirements pending a report by USAF.