Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has come under fire for a decision to permanently do away with an entire fleet of A-10 aircraft.
The choice to eliminate the A-10 aircraft was made as part of a series of budget cuts for 2015. The plan would save $3.5 billion dollars over five years, but it would also mean the end of the A-10 planes, affectionately known as “Warthogs”.
The plan was rejected by Representative Candice Miller (R) and Senator Carl Levin (D) who vow to fight the move.
A major factor in Miller’s decision to oppose the proposed budget is that it impacts the Harrison Township base in her Michigan district. The location currently houses 24 planes.
Miller, who is the vice chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has spearheaded previous and successful campaigns against the elimination of the Warthog and will be a leading voice against this current proposal.
Miller was quoted as saying, “Those of us who strongly recognize the important role the National Guard plays in defending our nation will not back down in ensuring that role is not diminished.”
Hagel’s justification for putting the aircraft on the chopping block is that the Warthog is a Cold War relic meant for the sole purpose of taking out tanks and lacking the technological savvy of more modern planes. The A-10 is therefore due to be put out to pasture.
It is an argument that was countered by Levin. The Detroit senator said that the A-10 had a “vital capability” and that in order to eliminate the plane, a sufficient “burden of proof” must be met.
Perhaps at the heart of the fight against the removal of the Warthog is the fact that doing so will cost up to 650 individuals their jobs.
The loss of jobs was a major reason that members of Congress had rejected previous attempts to move or do away with the aircraft.
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