F-35 Pacific Basing Criteria Finalized

The Air Force has finalized the basing criteria it will use to select F-35A overseas candidate bases in the Asia-Pacific theater, said service spokeswoman Ann Stefanek. Service officials briefed Congress on the guidelines on Thursday, she told the Daily Report. The criteria will assess Pacific Air Forces installations based on mission, capacity, environmental considerations, and cost factors, she said. In the coming months, the Air Force will evaluate PACAF bases using the criteria to identify the candidate F-35A locations. PACAF site survey teams will then assess each candidate location against operational and training requirements, potential impacts to existing missions, housing, infrastructure, and manpower, said Stefanek. The teams will also develop cost estimates to bed down the F-35 at each location. Once those activities are complete, the Air Force will select preferred sites and reasonable alternatives and work to complete the analysis of the environmental impacts of beddown to support the basing decisions, she said. If the sites are in other countries, the Air Force will make a recommendation to the Defense Secretary, who will make a decision after consultation with the host nation and head of US Pacific Command, said Stefanek. (See also Lightning Round.)