The Air Force has selected eight installations in six states as candidates for possible consolidation of its battlefield airman training. The potential training locations, announced July 7, are Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, and Patrick Air Force Base in Florida; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; Keesler AFB, Miss.; Little Rock AFB, Ark.; Shaw AFB, S.C., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Training for battlefield airmen—whose missions include tactical air control party, pararescue, combat control, and special tactics—currently is conducted at eight primary training sites. A review last year determined that grouping training at consolidated sites might provide improvements and synergies. A study of possible consolidation locations then gathered information from all Air Force installations in the continental US and assessed that against mission requirements, capacity, environmental considerations, and cost of possible consolidation. The Air Force now is conducting detailed on-site evaluation of the candidate installations. The results of those evaluations will be briefed to the Secretary and the Chief of Staff, who will select the preferred and reasonable alternatives, expected to be announced in early 2017.
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.