Tired of Holding Breath

While senior Air Force officials may want to close the door on talk of buying upgraded fourth-generation fighters to sustain the Air National Guard, which faces the aging-out of its fighter force that covers the air sovereignty alert mission, some lawmakers are trying to keep it open. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), two of the leading critics of the Air Force’s plan to retire 254 legacy fighters next year, added an amendment to the House Armed Services Committee’s version of the 2010 defense bill that would require DOD to submit a report on the feasibility of purchasing 4.5-generation fighters to sustain the Air Guard. In introducing the amendment, Giffords declared, “Without a shred of analysis being provided to Congress or any evidence that shows current plans meet current reality, the Air Force dismissed the idea of providing real life aircraft to real life airmen.” She added, “Instead, we have been asked, once again, to hold our breath and wait.” (Giffords-LoBiondo amendment) (And you may want to read an article Giffords penned in Politico)