WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., told Air Force Secretary Deborah James and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh that he remains unconvinced by the Air Force’s justification for moving 10 C-130Js from Keesler Air Force Base to Little Rock, Ark.
“I am convinced that the transfer of C-130Js from Keesler will not actually produce promised financial savings since a new airlift group would have to be physically established at Little Rock,” Wicker said. “Put simply, the proposal is shortsighted.
“This move will adversely impact our intra-theater airlift capability at a time when our services are evolving toward a more rotational deployment model. I believe the Air Force must make force structure decisions based on long-term global force requirements, as well as concrete and defensible data.”
On April 10, Wicker posed a number of questions to Secretary James and General Welsh about the Air Force’s rationale for the proposal. To date, his questions have not been answered.
“The National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force’s recommendations do not specifically endorse or recommend the transfer of C-130Js based at Keesler,” Wicker continued. “In fact, the C-130Js at Keesler are already part of one of the most successful Total Force installations in the country with active and reserve component airmen working seamlessly together. All of the efficiencies and synergies the Air Force would hope to obtain at Little Rock are already in place at Keesler.
“I strongly suggest that it would be prudent for the Air Force to consider keeping these aircraft at Keesler in order to provide the best value to the warfighter and taxpayer.”