Power in Numbers

Eight Senators led by Montana’s duo, Sen. Max Baucus (D) and Sen. Jon Tester (D), called on Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Craig McKinley to reconsider the beddown plan for the C-27J transport fleet. In a letter dated Monday, the Senators assert that the current basing proposal for the planned 38-aircraft fleet “is unacceptable.” The problem: basing four operational C-27s at each of nine bases (along with two dedicated trainer aircraft at one of those locations) would leave each Air Guard operational unit with just one aircraft to respond to state emergencies and for training. That’s because two of the unit’s aircraft likely will be deployed overseas and one will be in maintenance at any given time, they write. They propose a new scheme: increase the fleet size to 42 and assign six C-27s to each of the seven beddown locations already identified. They note that the Adjutants General of the states already getting C-27s recently advocated this alternative. If the fleet size remains at 38, the Senators have another idea: add one more C-27 to each of the seven bases. That would leave one C-27 still to assign somewhere.