The Defense Department has a byzantine process that’s meant to ensure it only acquires what it really needs. But there’s no comparable set of guardrails to make sure it doesn’t get rid of things it does need. That’s one conclusion of auditors at the Government Accountability Office. They fault the Air Force for not doing enough homework before it proposed to get rid of the A-10 fighter. John Pendleton, director of Defense capability and management issues at GAO, told Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu the Air Force didn’t adequately account for all the missions the A-10 performs, before it decided to ground it.
The Defense Department will test its new F-35 joint strike fighter against an aging A-10 Warthog starting in 2018. The Pentagon says it wants to see whether both jets can perform high-threat close air support. But Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh calls the testing a “silly exercise.” Richard Aboulafia is vice president for analysis at the Teal Group Corporation. He tells In Depth with Francis Rose what the F-35 can do that the A-10 can’t.
The Air Force is campaigning to get rid of the A-10 aircraft program. But the numbers it’s using to justify killing the A-10 aren’t the real numbers, according to Mandy Smithberger. She’s director of the CDI Straus Military Reform Project for the Project on Government Oversight. On In Depth with Francis Rose, she expained why that is.
Inside the DoD’s Reporter’s Notebook is biweekly feature focused on news about the Defense Department and defense community as gathered by Federal News Radio DoD Reporter Jared Serbu. Submit your ideas, suggestions and news tips to Jared via email.
Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has released a $601 billion spending plan that saves the Cold War era U-2 spy plane from the chopping block and also would force the Pentagon to keep the A-10 Warthog in storage. It’s all a part of a plan resulting in smaller military budgets after 13 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ironically, though, the plan also denies the Pentagon’s request for another round of military base closures to get rid of unnecessary facilities and save $1.4 billion.
Members of Congress aren’t happy with the Air Force’s proposal to cut entire fleets of aircraft out of its inventory. But the service insists it’s the only way to comply with the budget caps Congress created, and the alternatives would be far more painful.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) has put confirmation of Deborah Lee James on hold until she gets answers about possible cuts to the A-10 Thunderbolt attack fighter fleet.