Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Ms.) isn’t convinced that the Air Force has enough C-17s. He tells the story of a recent conversation with the father of a Mississippi National Guardsman. The son’s unit is currently deployed to Afghanistan clearing mines. Taylor said the unit lacks the rollers to attach to their MRAP fighting vehicles to detonate the mines. “We apparently have excess rollers in Iraq now because of the drawdown,” explained Taylor during a July 22 House Armed Services Committee hearing with the service undersecretaries. He continued, “We have the Air Force telling us that they do not need additional C-17s, but I’m told we can’t get the rollers to Afghanistan because of a lack of airlift. Now, either you have enough C-17s to get them there, or you don’t. And if you don’t have enough to get them there, obviously you don’t have enough C-17s.”
The Air Force pointed out numerous operational and programmatic effects from Congress' inability to approve fiscal 2022 funding. These include hits to programs already underway as well as 16 new starts, plus seven military construction projects. Readiness also is suffering because the funding limits maintenance and exercises.