Gen. Roger Brady, US Air Forces in Europe boss, told airmen of the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, on Jan. 8 that the base will continue to be an important fighter hub in Europe as well as a site for supporting air mobility missions even after the planned retirement of 18 of the wing’s 42 F-16s. “We have some capability here that we don’t have other places,” he explained. The fighter drawdown, which will essentially strip the base of one of its two F-16 units and about 450 manpower authorizations, is part of the broader Air Force plan to phase out up to 254 legacy fighters in Fiscal 2010 to free up funds for fighter modernization. However, the plan is currently on hold pending USAF providing additional information to Congress. The wing also has one A-10 squadron. (Spangdahlem report by SrA. Kali L. Gradishar)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.