Covering the Map

Retaining an Air National Guard flying mission in each state was the key deciding factor in allocating cuts across the Total Force A-10 fleet in Fiscal 2013, said Col. Michael Norton, ANG programs chief in the Pentagon. In this fiscal year’s defense policy act, Congress allowed the retirement of 61 A-10s—41 fewer than the service requested in its original budget proposal. These cuts are equally divided between the Active Duty component (20), Air Guard (20), and Air Force Reserve Command (21), according to a summary of the Air Force’s Fiscal 2013 force structure changes shown at the Jan. 10 media roundtable with Norton. When Air Force officials revised the service’s original Fiscal 2013 force structure proposal after lawmakers raised concerns, they opted to restore A-10s to the Air Guard’s 107th Fighter Squadron in Selfridge, Mich., and 163rd FS in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Air Guard’s A-10 cuts will all come from the 188th Fighter Wing at Ft. Smith, Ark., a unit transitioning to remotely piloted aircraft. “If you look at a state like Indiana, A-10 is their only flying mission,” said Norton. Conversely, “Arkansas has other flying missions,” he added, citing the C-130s at Little Rock.