Tanker Announcement and House Amendments
KC-46A Basing Announcement Includes One ANG Wing
The NGAUS Air Team spent the morning reviewing the official basing criteria announcement for the KC-46A. According to the Air Force’s press release they will begin fielding the aircraft in 2016 starting with the Formal Training Unit (FTU) and one main operating base that will be an active duty unit. The Air National Guard (ANG) is expected to receive their first KC-46As in 2018 followed by either an active duty unit or an Air Force reserve unit. If I had to bet, the Air Force is not planning to field additional KC-46As to the ANG for some time following the initial unit in 2018. Currently the ANG flies 47% of the tankers in the Air Force inventory in 17 states. With approximately 156 KC-46A primary aircraft planned to be fielded, the ANG should receive 73 of the new aircraft or 6-8 Wings worth to maintain the active component/reserve component ratios we have now. And, they should be fielded as close to 2020 as possible to avoid capability gaps as the aging KC-135s in our inventory begin to sunset. We’ll make sure Congress keeps an eye on this!
Many Congressional delegations are already calling for the KC-46A to be fielded to their state’s ANG Wing. U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) put out a press release this morning hailing Pease ANGB as a superior unit to field the new tankers to.
House to Begin Floor Proceedings on NDAA Tomorrow
The House will meet tomorrow at 10:00 for their morning hour debate and begin legislative business at noon. They plan to bring up H.R. 4310 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 for general debate in the afternoon. Thursday will be dedicated to work on amendments and will likely be a long day for members and their staff. The deadline for submitting amendments to the FY13 NDAA to the House Rules Committee was 10:00 this morning. So far, the Committee has posted 237 amendments. Of those, we've identified 29 of interest to the Guard. Space A travel – a top FY13 priority for NGAUS- is covered in amendment #135 submitted by Congressman Don Young (R-AK). This amendment would expand space-a travel eligibility to all members of the Guard and Reserve, their dependents, grey area retirees and surviving spouses. Other amendments address issues like the reduction of AOC units in the ANG, Yellow Ribbon expansion, compensation for PDMRA, and more. The NGAUS staff will monitor the House floor proceedings and provide a summary of which amendments make it in following House passage.