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Latham helps keep fighter jets in Des Moines



This news story was published on September 14, 2012.
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Tom Latham

Washington, Sep 13 – House legislation passed Thursday to fund the federal government through March 2013 contains a provision that prohibits the Department of Defense from retiring any Air Force aircraft. This provision covers the F-16 fighter jets of the Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing. Iowa Congressman Tom Latham, a strong advocate for maintaining the 132nd’s full presence in Des Moines, voted in favor of the legislation containing the provision.

“The 132nd Fighter Wing has been an exemplary unit of the U.S. Air Force, and I am pleased that Thursday’s continuing appropriations bill prohibits its elimination,” Congressman Latham said. “I do not believe that the Air Force’s recommendation to close this fighter wing was based on thorough cost-benefit analysis, and I will continue working to ensure that defense spending decisions are based on solid data and strengthening our national security.”

Specifically, the House-passed funding bill, H.J. Res. 117, would not allow the Department of Defense to “retire, divest, realign, or transfer aircraft of the Air Force; [or] disestablish or convert any unit associated with aircraft … of the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve.”

Congressman Latham originally worked with his colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee to include a section in the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Appropriations bill to freeze the proposed retirement of all Air Force aircraft until the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office could review a cost-benefit analysis. The House passed this legislation on July 19, and the Senate has yet to vote on it.

BACKGROUND

The Air Force has proposed a reduction of hundreds of Iowa Air Guard positions due to recent recommendations to retire 21 F-16s in the Des Moines-based 132nd Fighter Wing as part of cost-saving measures. Congressman Latham has spoken out repeatedly against the proposed Iowa Air Guard cuts, and has met with National Guard officials and Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley in an effort to find a better way forward. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee in April, Congressman Latham criticized the proposal because of the absence of a cost-benefit analysis and the irreversible elimination of the considerable experience amassed by the decorated fighter wing.

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5 Responses to Latham helps keep fighter jets in Des Moines

  1. Observer Reply Report comment

    September 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    “The huge defense contracts full of waste and fraud are the best place to cut.”

    Unless you are an employee of a contractor that provides services to the military. Then, it becomes a different story.

    The services that two contractors I know of exist because the military eliminated those positions within their branches, and still required that training to it’s members.

    And while they do provide good services, the paperwork, red tape, and constant evaluations to the military take up close to 40% of a contractors day to complete. And every year, at the end of the year, these employees hang in the breech, wondering if they will have employment by the 1st. of January.

    Yet there are other contractors like Boeing, who cannot live up to their contractual commitments through their own doing. (I am referring to the contract to maintain both Air Force One crafts. Boeing is closing a plant in Wichita where the work is currently completed with certified mechanics and technicians, and being moved to San Antonio, where there are no qualified personnel – to be qualified requires five years experience under Air Force regulations).

    Boeing of course will ask that additional funding be made available under that contract, and that a waiver be applied to the experience requirements.

    As far as the comment about Mr. Latham, you will note that he took an active role to protect Iowan’s and their jobs. Or would you rather those jobs be sent elsewhere?

  2. Lil' Tommie Reply Report comment

    September 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    This retard needs to get the hell out…. does nothing but use up a valuable seat that someone with some education can use. Is this the best he can do besides take money from big oil companies?

  3. Observer Reply Report comment

    September 14, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Keep the Hawkeyes, Cyclones, and Bulldog’s flying, they, along with their bretheren in Sioux City who man the KC-135R Bat’s are a very important part of our country’s defense.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 15, 2012 at 2:19 am

      I agree they are important but the defense budget needs to be cut. We spend three times as much as any other country. The huge defense contracts full of waste and fraud are the best place to cut.

      • Katie Reply Report comment

        September 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm

        Remember that black ops are hidden in a lot of the defense department’s budget. That’s likely how we paid to get bin Laden.