The 911th Air Wing 'save' might be only a temporary reprieve
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Sighs of relief over extension of the 911th Airlift Wing's lease on life through at least September 2014 must not be breathed long or deep. In what's just one skirmish in a fiscal war without an end in sight, the Air Force Reserve base in Moon has won only a brief reprieve — and in its struggle for long-term survival, complacency is a lethal adversary.
The defense spending bill that President Obama signed in January helped the 911th survive this skirmish by requiring the Air Force to keep more cargo planes than it wanted to. But it still could close the 911th more easily and quickly than it could many other bases.
That's because the way the Air Force calculates such things, it counts fewer than 300 of the base's 2,000 employees as civilian employees. And under federal law, the Pentagon can simply close any base with fewer than 300 civilian employees — without the lengthy, politically fraught process of obtaining congressional approval first.
Then there's another national base realignment process — like the one in 2005 that the 911th survived — coming in 2015. So by the time September 2014 rolls around, the 911th surely will be back on the chopping block. And at least one major factor in the Air Force targeting the 911th in the closure attempt just averted, the base's size, isn't likely to change in its favor in the interim.
So, however satisfying and rewarding this victory is for the 911th and its supporters, they can't afford to let that success go to their heads — or to let their guard down now or in coming months.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Un-American’? That’s Harry Reid, the Senate’s lowly smear artist
- Sunday pops
- The new SAT: Rigor gets a pass
- THE BOX
- Another EPA crock: Sulfur silliness
- Big Labor’s losses
- Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
- The IRS scandal: Compelling Lerner
- Fixing Ford City’s water leaks: Time is money
- More reefer sanity
- Corbett’s fortunes: Troubling truths