McSally confirms reprogramming of funds for border will not impact Luke Air Force Base

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein today credited Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) with saving the A-10 attack jet from retirement. 

During a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Fiscal Year 2021 funding for the Air Force, McSally told Gen. Goldfein that plans to mothball 44 A-10s were premature.

McSally crafted language in the FY 2017 defense bill that prohibits the Air Force from retiring even one A-10 aircraft until a series of reports were submitted to Congress.

  1. The F-35 initial test and evaluation report including results of the F-35/A-10 fly off competition Senator McSally mandated in the bill.
  2. An assessment by the Air Force on the results, including shortcomings, and future plans to ensure Close Air Support and Combat Search and Rescue capabilities. Neither of those reports have been submitted to Congress yet the Air Force submitted a budget cutting 44 A-10s. 

Sen. McSally reviewed the requirements of the law then asked:

“Based on your answers and based on the law we wrote, it’s premature to plan to retire even one A-10, never mind the 44 that you plan to retire in this year’s budget,” McSally said. “So how do you justify the planning starting for this when we haven’t met the intent of the law yet?” 

Gen. Goldfein replied: “We understand the timeline that’s in the law and we’ll absolutely comply with the law…I’ll tell you straight up, you saved the A-10. Nobody else can make that claim, and as a result of your efforts and the efforts of this committee, we’re putting almost a billion dollars into the A-10. We’re going to be doing the wings, the avionics, the radios. We’re going to keep that airplane in the inventory flying well into the 2030s.”

Senator McSally also received confirmation that the F-35 money recently reprogrammed for border security was for "long lead" items no longer required in FY 2020, and the reprogramming will not result in less F-35s produced in FY20 and will have no impact on Luke Air Force Base. 

“As a veteran, as a border senator, we need to support our military and secure our border. Obstructions should stop happening,” McSally said. “But I want to specifically ask about the F-35 and the money that’s being reprogrammed…What’s the impact on the Air Force F-35 and specifically any impact to Luke Air Force Base?”

Gen. Goldfein said: “It would be no impact to Luke Air Force Base.”

Gen. Goldfein confirmed that 62 F-35s would come off the production line this year.

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Download McSally's questioning here.