Air Force training decision questioned

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK-3) today pressed the U.S. Air Force for further details of a preferred consolidation of the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals’ (IFF) training units that would eliminate IFF at Vance Air Force Base (AFB) in Enid, Okla. and Laughlin AFB in Laughlin, Tex. 

In a letter to Michael Donley, Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, and Gen. Norton Schwartz, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, signed by Inhofe, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and Lucas, the members questioned the cost-analysis and efficiency that this proposed consolidation would actually achieve.
“Although, I fully support the Air Force’s ongoing efforts to reduce costs during hard economic times, I remain skeptical that the proposed consolidation will lower costs and improve efficiency,” said Inhofe. “The Air Force has cited a number of reasons for this consolidation, yet few details have been provided that prove moving IFF training from Vance and Laughlin AFB will save money and improve training.  This current decision by the Air Force runs counter to the conclusions contained in the 2005 BRAC Recommendations that were based on detailed analysis and modeling of all DoD missions and installations.  While I did not favor conducting the 2005 BRAC, it was approved by Congress meaning this Air Force decision could be at odds with the purpose of the BRAC Act and Congressional intent. I look forward to seeing the detailed business case analysis that explains how the 2005 BRAC data and savings are now no longer valid.”

Lucas said, “The consolidation of the IFF mission away from Vance Air Force Base represents not only a significant deviation from the original BRAC 2005 recommendations, but also a departure from its intended function of reducing costs and maximizing efficiency. The IFF program at Vance AFB is renowned for its usage of unencumbered airspace that provides an exceptional training experience for pilots. That the IFF program at Vance is somehow so inefficient that it merits removal outside the auspices of BRAC warrants a serious congressional inquiry. For this reason, I join my colleagues in requesting that the Air Force provide the detailed information that demonstrates the most cost-effective basing alternative, and I look forward to their comprehensive response.”

The Department of Defense (DoD), in its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, relocated IFF training at Moody AFB to five Air Force bases to include Vance AFB.  The 2005 BRAC Report stated the movement of IFF along with T-6 training at Moody AFB would reduce excess capacity, improve military value and result in a net savings ‘to the Department over 20 years is a savings of $174.2 million.’