Gen. William Looney, head of Air Education and Training Command, told reporters in Washington Tuesday that he expects a decision on the new Common Battlefield Airmen Training center by January. AETC plans to consolidate and expand the Air Force’s specialized ground-based training efforts at the new center. The command issued an environmental impact statement covering the three final potential locations—Barksdale AFB, La., Arnold AFB, Tenn., and Moody AFB, Ga.—this summer. Looney said a report outlining each of the locations’ strengths and weaknesses has been submitted to the Air Staff for review. The program eventually will expand to host more than 14,400 airmen every year, solidifying skills for traditional battlefield airmen such as combat weathermen, combat controllers and pararescuers—as well as combat small arms and small unit tactics for a wide range of career fields deploying or used as in-lieu-of forces.
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.