Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) wants the Air Force to reinstitute the program that places young active duty airmen in communities like Burlington, Vt., to learn the finer points of their trades from veteran Air National Guardsmen. Leahy commented at a Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing March 21 that the community basing initiative “worked out very well.” (Last year, ANG Director Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley said the program fell prey to USAF’s manpower cuts.) Leahy asked Gen. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff, “Why can’t you find 100 to 200 people in all of the Air Force to expand this program … around the country?” Moseley replied that he is “committed to do this” but it’s a matter of finding the “people of the grade structure to be able to get them there and keep them there” given current operations and the on-going drawdown. Leahy pressed for a rough timeframe, settling instead for the promise of a “let me get back with you” from Moseley.
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.