The Air Force isn’t planning to mothball its 283 A-10s, but simply retire the type wholesale as part of the Fiscal 2015 budget request, service Secretary Deborah Lee James said Wednesday. James told a Bloomberg defense symposium in Washington, D.C., that “the idea…is to…retire them fully” rather than put the A-10s into Type 1000 storage—meaning they could be returned to operations if needed—at the Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., boneyard. However, she said the A-10s won’t be retired all at once, but rather over several years. “The beginning years would tilt toward the Active component,” and the Guard and Reserve A-10s would be the last to go, she said. James emphasized that the A-10 is not the only close air support platform in the Air Force, and that in Afghanistan, it has actually only performed 20 percent of the CAS mission. The rest has been done by AC-130s, F-15s, F-16s, B-52s, and B-1s; all of which will be retained. “We have got this,” James said of the CAS mission, insisting the service won’t let down its brethren in the other services. The F-35 also will eventually take over the CAS role, she said. Retiring the A-10s will save $3.5 billion over the future years defense plan, she said.
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.