Monday, May 19, 2014
The Obama administration's Office of Management and Budget released a memo earlier today that listed a variety of reasons why senior advisors would recommend a veto of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act that passed the House Armed Services Committee last week.
Among the reasons cited: Southern Arizona Congressman Ron Barber's amendment preventing the Air Force from moving forward with plans to retire the A-10 Warthog. The fate of the Air Force combat jet has become a key debate in the race between Barber (D-CD2) and his likely Republican opponent, former A-10 pilot and squadron commander Martha McSally.
There are plenty of other policy issues that the Statement of Administrative Policy cites, including provisions limiting the ability of the administration to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, retention of all ICBM silos now in operation, and a provision that blocks the administration from proceeding with any plans to close any military bases. But Barber's amendment got special attention in the report.
You can read the entire memo here, but this is the section regarding the A-10:
Limitations on Retirement of Weapon Systems: The Administration strongly objects to provisions that would restrict the Department’s ability to retire weapon systems and aircraft platforms in accordance with current strategic and operational plans. These divestitures are critical and would free up funding for higher priority programs. Specifically, the Administration strongly objects to sections 131, 132, and 1026, which are inconsistent with DOD’s fiscal constraints and current priorities. Section 132 would restrict DOD from obligating or expending funds to retire A-10 aircraft. Divesting the A-10 will save over $4.2 billion through FY 2019. The joint force will retain several multi-mission aircraft capable of performing the close air support mission. The Administration also objects to the Committee authorizing Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for the continued operation of the A- 10 fleet. Longstanding criteria for OCO eligibility clearly exclude such uses.