Working Group to Determine Airlift Fleet

NGAUS Washington Report

(Jan. 8, 2013) The picture of airlift structure in the Air Force is still cloudy, but the service has created an Intra-Theater Airlift Working Group to address a demand from Congress that the Air Force maintain 32 cargo aircraft it wanted to retire.

The group includes members of the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and active-component air force. Its mission is to determine how to comply with a section of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that requires it to maintain a mix of C-130s and C-27Js.

The group will determine what the mix will be and where the aircraft will be based.

Congress used the NDAA to address its concern that the Air Force was cutting aircraft and people from the Air National Guard without fully explaining how it reached its decision and how doing so would be good for the Air Force.

The NDAA didn’t clarify the future for Guard airlift capabilities, specifically for those states that have the C-27J.

In the original Air Force budget for 2013, Connecticut, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi and North Dakota faced the loss of their C-27s.

They still could, but there is a process now to make that decision and it evidently will have input from the Air Guard.

According to InsideDefense.com, Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, briefed the House Armed Services Committee last week on the plan. Recommendations will be made by the end of the month to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff.