House subcommittee approves language to transition 122nd to F-16s

A-10 Warthog
FILE: A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter, also known as a Warthog.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – At the encouragement of Rep. Jim Banks (R-3rd) a House subcommittee approved language that encourages the transition of aircraft at the 122nd Air National Guard Base from A-10s to F-16s.

Banks’ pushed the transition to be included in the House version of the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

F-16 Fighters
Photo of two F-16 fighters courtesy the Department of Defense

The House Armed Services Committee is expected to vote on the NDAA next week.

“The transition to F-16s from A-10s in Fort Wayne is vitally important,” Banks said in a statement. “I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to advocate for the 122nd Fighter Wing in committee hearings and ultimately have language specific to Fort Wayne included in the NDAA. As directed by this provision, I look forward to hearing from the Secretary of the Air Force on the Air Force’s plan for F-16 basing nationwide in the active Air Force, the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard.”

Six subcommittees under the House Armed Services Committee is reviewing the NDAA. Each committee is marking up and deciding on various provisions of the Act.

Banks is a member of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee.

Despite the approval, the full committee could remove the language or reject the bill altogether. If approved, the Secretary of the Air Force would ultimately decide when the transition takes place.

The language specific to Banks’ request is below:

The committee notes that section 134 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328) included a subsection that authorizes the Secretary of the Air Force to carry out the transition of the A-10 aircraft unit at Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base, Indiana, to an F-16 aircraft unit, as described by the Secretary in the Force Structure Actions map submitted in support of the budget request for fiscal year 2017. The committee understands that the Secretary of the Air Force has not yet planned for or announced this transfer, 22 and encourages the Secretary to execute this transfer as soon as possible. The committee remains concerned about the status of other A-10 and F-16 basing decisions for the Active Duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard. Therefore, the committee directs the Secretary of the Air Force to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services by September 1, 2017, on an update of A-10 and F-16 basing decisions for the Active Duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard.

 

If the committee approves the NDAA, it would then go to the full House for a vote. It would then need to pass the Senate and, of course, be approved by President Trump.