The Navy has derailed plans by Pennsylvania to take charge of NAS JRB Willow Grove, telling the Air Force that a transfer of the property from the Navy to the Air Force has no legal foundation under BRAC procedures or current regulations. The Air Force, in turn, planned to turn the property over to the state, under a plan floated by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. In a statement on the setback, Rendell calls the Navy decision “extremely shortsighted.” He believes “the Navy is obliged by the wording of the BRAC Commission report to ensure that Willow Grove continues to support military operations, including flight operations.” Rendell continued: “Willow Grove and its airfield and flight facilities are too vital a military and homeland security resource to be abandoned. We will continue to pursue our efforts to maintain this installation for military use as a joint interagency base.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.