NDAA Sets Aircraft Minimums

The proposed defense authorization bill would require the Air Force to have a minimum of 1,900 total and 1,100 combat-coded aircraft, and it would prevent plans to retire the A-10 and restrict the retirement of the EC-130H Compass Call, KC-10 tanker, E-8 JSTARS, and E-3 AWACS. “A quarter-century of near-continuous deployments, frequent aircraft divestments, and a decades-long procurement holiday has left us with the oldest and smallest Air Force in history,” according to a statement from the office of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Establishing the aircraft minimums is an attempt to emphasize the need “to retain sufficient combat airpower capacity,” according to the statement. The NDAA would authorize a 1.3-percent pay raise for all service members O-6 and below, create a new retirement plan, and impose restrictions on the use of Russian-made rocket engines. The White House has said President Barack Obama will veto the bill, which McCain called “shameful.” ?“If the President vetoes the NDAA, at this time of mounting global threats, he will be prioritizing politics and process over the security of our nation and the well-being of our armed forces,” he said in a written statement.