Share This Page

GOP senator seeks answers from Air Force on A-10 fate

| Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 7:48 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kelly Ayotte is blocking Senate action on President Obama's nominee for Air Force secretary until she gets answers about the fate of the military's A-10 attack aircraft.

The New Hampshire Republican placed a “hold” on the nomination of Deborah Lee James amid signals from senior Air Force officials that the aircraft may be scrapped because of budget cuts.

“As ranking member of the Armed Services readiness subcommittee, Sen. Ayotte's central concern is that our troops, including New Hampshire servicemen and women serving in harm's way, have the close air support they need to safely accomplish their missions,” Liz Johnson, a spokeswoman for the senator, said in a statement on Thursday. “The A-10 airframe is credited with saving 60 American lives this summer in Afghanistan.”

Johnson said Ayotte had not gotten the answers from the Air Force on whether it planned to eliminate the aircraft before a replacement was available. The Air Force was in the process of responding and once Ayotte received a “substantive response” she would lift her hold on the nomination, Johnson said.

Ayotte's husband, Joe Daley, is a former A-10 pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq.

The senator questioned James about the aircraft at her confirmation hearing this month, arguing that until the next generation F-35 aircraft was operational, “we can't be giving up our capacity, particularly important capacity that protects our troops.”

James had testified that there had been no decision on the A-10, but the Air Force was looking at all options as it confronts automatic, across-the board spending cuts.

Ayotte submitted 32 follow-up questions to the Air Force.

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.