We Want Answers

Four lawmakers wrote the Air Force’s leadership April 10 concerned over the impact that budget shortfalls and what they deem as risky fighter modernization strategies will have on the air sovereignty alert mission and on the readiness and capability of Air National Guard units. “Despite sustained and new threats both asymmetric and strategic, dedication of Air Force funding for this critical mission has not kept pace with evolving requirements since Fiscal 2004,” write Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) in their missive to Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff. Accordingly, the four lawmakers call on Wynne and Moseley to articulate for them how they will “improve and sustain the ASA mission.” Further, they ask what consideration has been given to a “Plan B” to backfill aging ASA wings with upgraded fourth-generation fighters since there might not be enough new fifth-generation fighters to go around under the current plans. [Bond, in whose state Boeing builds the F-15, has already brought up the Plan B idea.] They also want to know what consideration is being given to including all of the costs associated with the Guard’s ASA activities in the annual Air Force budget. Finally, they seek input on what contingency plans there are to protect US airspace in case more F-15s and F-16s are grounded before replacements are fielded. Bond and Leahy lead the Senate National Guard Caucus.