Monday, May 14, 2012

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Defense Spending Bill Includes Provision To Keep Air Guard Jets

DTN News - DEFENSE NEWS: Defense Spending Bill Includes Provision To Keep Air Guard Jets

(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - May 14, 2012: A defense spending bill proposed Monday in the U.S. House would block the Air Force from eliminating F-16 aircraft at the 132nd Fighter Wing in Des Moines until a cost-benefit analysis can be completed.

U.S. Rep. Tom Latham said the legislation would freeze the proposed retirement of Air Force aircraft, including the Iowa Air National Guard’s F-16s. The bill would require the Air Force to finish the cost-benefit study by October, with a review by the nonpartisan General Accounting Office within 120 days of its completion.

The bill is sponsored by the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee, on which Latham serves. The Iowa Republican said he believes a review will ultimately show the 132nd Fighter Wing operates cost-effectively and should continue flying F-16 combat aircraft over the long term. He called Monday’s action a major step forward.

“This is a great victory, and we are going to fight to save the 132nd Fighter Wing,” Latham said in a phone interview from Washington, D.C.

The Air Force has proposed budget cuts that include eliminating all 21 of the Iowa unit’s F-16 aircraft, replacing them with a smaller unit based in Des Moines that would remotely control unmanned aircraft that would be flown elsewhere, such as Afghanistan.

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