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Monday, June 08, 2015

Congress counters U.S. air power decline, restocks Air Force, Navy with planes, missiles

F/A-18 Super HornetAmerican air power is declining at the very moment U.S. warplanes have been thrust into a long war in the skies over Iraq and Syria and must contain aggressive militaries in Russia and the Pacific.

Now Congress, which has watched combat readiness decline under the crunch of automatic budget cuts called “sequestration” in 2013, is intervening. Congress is restocking the Air Force and Navy with more missiles and planes than requested in President Obama’s defense budget.

The backdrop: The Air Force continues to shed jet fighters, and, more troubling, oversees 54 fighter squadrons for which less than half are fully combat-ready, says a new report from the Senate Armed Services Committee. To meet lower budgets, the Air Force plans to reduce the squadron count even further — to 49 — by eliminating the venerable A-10 “Warthog.”

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