A-10 Supporters Amend 2014 NDAA

Earlier this month the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) approved a bipartisan amendment to the Nation Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that both continues funding for the A-10 Thunderbolt through the end of fiscal year 2015, and calls for a study to determine the effectiveness and cost of other aircraft performing the close-air-support (CAS) mission.

The amendment, proposed by Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ), gets funding by shifting $635 million to the Overseas Contingency Operations budget. Barber says this shift of funds is appropriate, since the A-10 is still deployed overseas is Afghanistan.

One other compromise, proposed by HSAC Chairman Howard McKeon (R-CA) that would allow the A-10s to all be retired if they were put into Type-1000 storage - essentially shrink-wrapping the aircraft, which would allow it to be reactivated and prepared for combat relatively quickly.

Both men are critical of the other proposal - Barber pointed out that although McKeon's plan would preserve the plane, pilot training would cease. McKeon is critical of Barber's plan to take over a half-billion dollars from the Overseas Contingency Operations budget in 2015, which hasn't even been established yet.

The full House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee will consider the full NDAA bill during the week of May 19. Several Senators have supported efforts to save the A-10, and been critical of Air Force attempts to retire the airframe.