Washington, D.C. – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report today concluding that the Air Force has not provided the information needed to justify its proposal to prematurely retire the A-10 aircraft. U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who has successfully prevented the Obama Administration from following through with its proposal for years, released the following statement on GAO’s report:
“The nonpartisan GAO has concluded what we’ve been arguing for years: there is no justification for the Air Force to prematurely retire the A-10 fleet, and doing so could leave the military with a serious capability gap our military needs to confront complex security challenges around the world. According to GAO, the Air Force has not adequately identified how such a divestment of the A-10 could impact our capability or capacity requirements, and has not developed sufficient strategies to address any potential risks. Moreover, GAO has concluded that the Air Force’s cost savings estimates are not credible because it failed to follow best practices or consider important factors such as increasing the use of other systems in place of the A-10.
“I’m proud to have once again included in the Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act a provision that would prevent the Air Force from following through with its dangerous proposal to prematurely retire the A-10, which continues to play an important role in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and supporting NATO’s efforts in Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression. At a time of growing threats to our national security, any divestment of this critical aircraft without the fielding of a suitable replacement would leave our men and women in uniform without the best close-air support weapon in our arsenal that is needed now more than ever to meet the challenges of a more dangerous world.”
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which was passed overwhelmingly by the Senate this spring, would prevent the premature retirement of the A-10 fleet and fully fund the flight hours, pilot training, fuel, maintenance and ammunition for all A-10s for the upcoming year.
Read the full GAO report here.