As if finding a new mission for Cannon were not enough, now Sen. Pete Domenici (R) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D) must deal with the Air Force’s plan to speed up retirement of the F-117s based at Holloman AFB, N.M. Per the 2007 budget request, USAF now wants to retire all its Nighthawks by 2008, three years earlier than the previous plan. What that means for Holloman is unclear, since it was not a target of BRAC 2005. Domenici and Bingaman have successfully fought off retirement of the F-117s in past years. They say they do not know why USAF has “compressed its timeframe” and vow to seek answers. The two lawmakers say USAF is looking at Holloman as a potential site to base a unit of its new F-22A Raptors. They maintain that Holloman will “play a major role in the future” and add, “The only questions that remain are: What will replace the F-117 and when will the transition take place.”
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.