Long Beach Faces Tough C-17 Battle: The Pentagon reportedly has put a dollar figure on mothballing the C-17 production line. And, that may make the plan to end production at 180 new airlifters seem even more urgent for the crowd trying to rally support to extend the line beyond 2008. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Pentagon plans to include $265 million in the 2007 budget request, due out in early February, that will be earmarked to close the line in Long Beach. Boeing officials tell the Long Beach Press-Telegram that the company has not heard any official word yet. There is no interest by top Air Force leaders to pursue more C-17s; they now say that 180 will be quite sufficient to handle airlift needs. Of course, Congress could yet save the day.
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.