WATCH: Senator Kelly Raises Concern with Chairman of Joint Chiefs Over A-10 Retirement Proposal
Yesterday, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, a 25-year Navy veteran with experience as a combat pilot, test pilot and astronaut, raised concerns with General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the country’s highest ranking military officer, over the Air Force’s proposal to partially retire A-10 aircrafts. Senator Kelly raised the issue during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to review the Department of Defense’s budget request for the next fiscal year.
“Having the right equipment available to our troops on the battlefield is critical, which is why I am very concerned by the proposed divestment of 42 A-10 aircraft in the fiscal year 2022 budget. As you know the A-10 is a combat proven asset that is unmatched in its ability to provide close air support to troops on the ground. The Air Force has not been able to establish a convincing replacement to carry out this mission. And it certainly has not demonstrated a replacement that could match the A-10’s cost effectiveness,” Kelly said during the hearing.
“…The A-10 has saved the lives of many men and women because of its unique capabilities. Everyone I speak to, everyone who has had experience with the A-10, in combat, wants that plane to be the plane that shows up when they’re in trouble. So when I think about the tradeoffs we’d be making by divesting, I just don’t see that the risk has been properly accounted for…,” Kelly continued.
Senator Kelly, who has flown close air support missions in combat, has continued to be vocal in his opposition to the Administration’s proposal to partially retire the aircraft. In December, Kelly voted to pass the bipartisan defense bill which included key provisions to protect the A-10. In April, Kelly introduced the bipartisan A-10 Resolution recognizing the A-10 aircraft as a critical component of America’s national security and the most effective and cost-efficient Close Air Support attack aircraft in the Air Force’s inventory. Following the introduction, Senator Kelly sent a letter to Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth expressing continued support for the A-10 Warthog and requesting more transparency regarding the future of the aircraft. Upon the President’s release of the budget proposal to partially retire the aircraft last month, Senator Kelly and Senator Sinema led a letter to President Biden expressing their grave concerns and opposition.
To watch his full remarks, click HERE.