FAIRFIELD — Rep. John Garamendi and a Republican representative from New Jersey introduced legislation Thursday to limit retirement of KC-10 aircraft – a measure Garamendi says will help maintain stability in military operations at Travis Air Force Base.
Retiring the entire KC-10 fleet was not part of the Obama administration’s defense budget proposal but Secretary of Defense Hagel said that “if sequestration resumes at full force in 2016, the Air Force would have to retire its entire fleet of KC-10 tankers,” Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said in a release about the bill co-sponsored by Jon Runyan, R-New Jersey.
The legislation seeks to ensure that the KC-10 tanker aircraft fleet is not retired prematurely and continues its critical air refueling and cargo missions, Garamendi said in the release. The bill specifies that no funds can be used to retire or store the KC-10 aircraft until the new KC-46A tanker has been tested, is fully operational, and four test and 18 initial tankers have been delivered, he said.
“Air Mobility Command is responsible for the rapid delivery of military assets around the world – something that will continue to grow in importance,” Garamendi, co-chairman of the Congressional Air Mobility Caucus, said in a press release. “This bipartisan legislation would ensure that the Air Force maintains its strategic refueling capability as it transitions from the KC-10 to the KC-46 aircraft over the next few years.”
Runyan and Garamendi, members of the House Armed Services Committee, urged the Department of Defense not to eliminate the KC-10 aircraft fleet, notes the release, which adds that the representatives have also addressed the issue with Air Force and Defense of Department leadership.
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