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July 15, 2020

Rep. Kirkpatrick Leads Fight to Protect A-10 Funding for FY2021

Appropriations Victory for Southern Arizona Warthog

(Tucson, AZ) — Today, Rep. Kirkpatrick released the following statement after she secured additional funds for the A-10 ‘Warthog’ in the Defense Bill for FY2021. The House Appropriations Committee today approved the Defense bill on a vote of 30 to 22. The legislation funds the Department of Defense, including operations and maintenance, readiness activities, research and development, equipment modernization, and health and quality-of-life programs for our troops and military families.

“As a member of the House Appropriations Committee on Defense, I worked to fully fund the A-10 program at the subcommittee and full committee level. Keeping the fleet modernized and flying for decades to come is one of my top priorities,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “That’s why I’m proud of my success to secure the full funds needed to deliver A-10 upgrades and modifications.”

The defense bill that passed the full committee today proves a huge victory for Rep. Kirkpatrick, who represents a strong military district which includes Davis Monthan Air Force Base, home of the A-10 ‘Warthog’. 

  • Rep. Kirkpatrick successfully secured the full funds needed to deliver A-10 upgrades and modifications, which includes the wing replacement program, procurement, and funds for Research and Development. 

Since her appointment on the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Kirkpatrick has been a leading voice for funding, protecting and highlighting the A-10’s mission, some notable actions include:

  • When the House passed the FY20 bill, Rep. Kirkpatrick worked to fully fund the A-10 program, which included modernizing the fleet to keep it flying well through the 2030s.
  • In January 2020, Rep. Kirkpatrick received a letter from DynCorp International LLC saying that DynCorp operations at Davis Monthan supporting A-10 maintenance will soon close, causing permanent layoffs of 202 civilian employees. Rep. Kirkpatrick contacted the USAF Congressional Appropriations Liaison office to get more details about this closure.
  • In early February 2020, Rep. Kirkpatrick’s staff met with the USAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements to discuss modernization and sustainment of the A-10C fleet, among other items. The staff emphasized Rep. Kirkpatrick’s position in the protection of the A-10 as one of her top priorities. 
  • After the meeting, Rep. Kirkpatrick requested information from USAF on whether the A-10 retirement will have any effect on the missions at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. 
  • A few days later, Rep. Kirkpatrick learned that USAF was making strategic basing decisions to reduce the A-10 fleet. She moved forward on plans to introduce a resolution to protect the A-10.
  • The week of February 12, Rep. Kirkpatrick discovered that the President issued an order to divert FY20 National Guard funds for the border wall, which would delay or diminish programs that include A-10 Aircraft critical survivability upgrades. The loss of ANG funds to the wall, however, had no impact on Southern Arizona’s A-10 fleet.
  • On February 28, Rep. Kirkpatrick introduced H.Res. 879, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress should continue to support the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft. 
  • In mid-March, Rep. Kirkpatrick was the first to receive the Congressional Appropriations Liaison’s A-10 laydown summary, which detailed where the A-10 divestments would come from as the USAF finalized its strategic basing decisions.  
  • Throughout the month of March, Rep. Kirkpatrick and her staff corresponded directly with the USAF to request more transparency on the retiring plans for A-10s as well as the closure of DynCorp International’s operations at Davis Monthan. 
  • Rep. Kirkpatrick then sent a letter with a set of questions to Air Force Secretary Barrett and General Goldfein regarding the USAF’s divestment planning of the A-10s at Davis Monthan. She conveyed her strong opposition to the move and her concerns about the negative impact the decision would have on the country’s ability to support troops in battle, the mission at Davis Monthan, and the serious harm it would do to the regional economy.
  • In early April, Rep. Kirkpatrick wrote a letter to the House Armed Services Committee requesting the inclusion of report language in the FY2021 NDAA which would prohibit divestment or retirement of any A-10 aircraft.  
  • Throughout April and May, Rep. Kirkpatrick spoke with leaders in the Air Force and USAF to follow up regarding near-term and long-term goals for A-10 modernization, as well as how the supply chain would be impacted by COVID-19. 
  • On June 29, the House Armed Services Committee released H.R. 6395, FY21 NDAA mark, which included language from Rep. Kirkpatrick’s request to protect the aircraft and prohibit the use of funds that would retire, prepare to retire, place into storage or back-up aircraft inventory any A-10 aircraft.
  • Finally, on July 14, 2020,  Rep.  Kirkpatrick offered an amendment to the FY21 NDAA, adding language to ensure greater transparency from the Air Force with the A-10 aircraft re-wing effort. 

“In addition to securing the full funds requested for the A-10, I worked with my colleagues to include provisions to end the Trump administration’s theft of defense funds to pay for a wasteful border wall,” said. Rep. Kirkpatrick “We have seen this President take funds from our military installations, and I will do everything I can to ensure our defense funds are distributed as they were needed, requested and allocated by Congress.”

For fiscal year 2021, the bill provides $694.6 billion in new discretionary spending authority for the Department of Defense for functions under the Defense Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, an increase of $1.3 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level, and $3.7 billion below the President’s budget request. This includes $626.2 billion in base funding, an increase of $3.5 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level, and $3.5 billion below the President’s request. It also includes $68.4 billion for OCO/GWOT funding in title IX, a decrease of $2.2 billion below the FY 2020 enacted level, and $200 million below the President’s request.

A summary of the bill is here. The full text of the bill, prior to adoption of amendments in full committee, is here. The bill report is here.

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