The junior Senator from Louisiana, David Vitter (R) believes Barksdale Air Force Base may have the inside track on another prized new mission—host for the new Common Battlefield Airman Training facility, according to a May 5 report in the Shreveport Times. The Valdosta Daily Times earlier reported that CBAT contender Moody AFB, Ga., had dropped out of the race. That left Barksdale and Arnold AFB, Tenn., but, according to Vitter, when the original plans proved too expensive, the Louisiana contingent came up with a new one that uses existing assets at both Barksdale and nearby Camp Minden “that should be very attractive.” Vitter told the Times, “No one at Arnold has come up with a new outside-the-box proposal anything like that.” Air Force officials had expected to name the site for CBAT this spring, but it now appears that may slide. In a May 2 statement, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) said, “The Air Force has indicated that the final decision will be made this fall.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.