At a recent meeting of the Tactics Review Board at Nellis AFB, Nev., the second in command at Air Combat Command reportedly instructed the gathering they were not to speak to Congress regarding USAF’s plan to retire the A-10 outside of approved channels. Doing so, said Maj. Gen. James Post, could be construed as “treason.” The remarks set off a flurry of criticism and ACC officials have attempted to clarify the alleged remarks. Post “is not restricting nor implying to restrict members of the Air Force in communicating with members of Congress,” ACC spokeswoman Maj. Genieve David told Air Force Magazine. Post was trying to “overemphasize a serious point: the Air Force’s decisions on long-term choices have been made, and the service’s position communicated,” she added. Debate will continue on these issues “at the highest levels,” but the primary job for airmen is to “continue to execute our mission and duties.” Individual airmen should not “engage in public debate or advocacy for policy,” she said, emphasizing there are “superior venues” to advocate for policy changes such as through veteran service organizations. Post was seeking to highlight ACC’s responsibility to organize, train, and equip the Combat Air Force while preparing for future challenges. “He called on airmen to support decisions made to that end,” said David.
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.