A week after telling Congress it had a different “interpretation” of the 2015 defense authorization legislation directing the service to implement the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program, the Air Force seems to be complying. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s airland subcommittee on Thursday, Lt. Gen. James Holmes, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, said there have been “meetings with [congressional] staffers” in recent weeks in which USAF agreed to do the AMP. USAF killed the program two years ago, but Congress insisted it be carried out, even threatening a 15 percent hit on USAF readiness accounts if it refused. “Our intent … is to spend the AMP money on AMP,” Holmes said. The work in Fiscal 2016 will involve mostly research, development, test, and evaluation, since technology has moved on since USAF last had an up-to-date AMP implementation plan, he said. The Air Force planned to do only a limited amount of avionics work on the C-130 fleet to make it compatible with air traffic control requirements. However, the planned reduction in the C-130 fleet from 328 to 300 means the cost of doing AMP and just the air traffic work is converging and seems more affordable now, but “something else won’t get done,” Holmes said. USAF will “work with Congress on how we’re going to move out” on the AMP, he said. (Holmes prepared testimony)
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.