The Duluth, Minn., Chamber of Commerce has set its sight on gaining a new mission for the Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, even though the unit does not fall to the BRAC 2005 axe. The Pentagon had wanted to strip the unit of its F-16s and had no replacement mission in mind, but BRAC commissioners saved the day. However, the Duluth News Tribune reports that decision is only good until 2011, so there’s a move afoot to garner either a unit of new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters or forsake fighters for transports or aerial refuelers. While the Air Force is still engaged in sorting out just where it intends to put new aircraft, the Duluth plan includes getting more modern F-16s or F-15s. Good luck.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.