Senator Maintains Hold on SECAF Nomination

Senator Maintains Hold on SECAF Nomination

Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., plans to keep the hold on President Obama’s nomination for Air Force secretary due to her concerns about the services’ plan to retire the A-10 Warthog.

Air Force officials have been working to provide responses to A-10-related questions raised at a Sept. 19  confirmation hearing for Deborah Lee James, President Obama’s pick for Air Force secretary. Ayotte placed the hold on the James after the hearing and has yet to relinquish it.

“Senator Ayotte found some of the responses she received from the Air Force to be insufficient, and she now awaits answers to several follow-up questions she submitted,” an official with Ayotte’s office told Military​.com.

Obama nominated James to take over the role of Air Force secretary from acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning, who stepped in after the retirement of the services’ former secretary Michael Donley.

Air Force leaders have said they plan to retire the A-10 because of budget restraints and the aircraft’s limited performance in contested airspace. The Air Force plans to replace the A-10’s mission with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the F-16.

Ayotte, by contrast, feels the Air Force is retiring the battle-tested aircraft too soon before a suitable replacement can be identified.

“As ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, Senator Ayotte’s central concern is that our troops have the close air support they need to accomplish their missions and return home safely. The A-10 has saved many American lives, and Senator Ayotte is concerned that the Air Force might prematurely eliminate the A-10 before there is a replacement aircraft—creating a dangerous close air support capability gap that could put our troops at risk,” an aide to Ayotte said in a statement to Military​.com.

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Good for her.

Here again the Air Force has their heads up someones rear end. Name me an aircraft that is currently flying that can perform the same mission as an A-10. Let’s see the F-16, they fly to fast, the 20mm gun is not heavy enought to knock out tanks and the Time on Target is limited plus they have a celing restriction that will not allow them to fly low, SLOW and dirty. F-35 let’s see again, ehat ever internal gun it carries is not heavy enough to knock out a tank, would be too expensive to fly low and slow and risk getting shot down, may have a ceiling height restriction also. The main problem with the Air Force is that if it can’t do Mach 2 or 3 and look pretty they donot wnat it, those Jet Jockeys think they have to fly fast and high when the real war after we have air superior is down and dirty. So I agree they need to find a replacement but they will not as they want SPEED in their jets not real capability

The Air Force’s contractors need the money they Air Force wastes on actual flying airplanes so they can fully fund all of the airplane design programs. Why should the Air Force spend money on flying airplanes when they could be spending it on paper airplanes?

Good for my homegirl, Kelly *KILLER* Ayotte…
…even if she is a Republicrat…at least she ain’t a Demo-cracker…
Keep them Warthogs FLYING, Kelly!…

I know hundreds of people more qualified then she is. Just another political hack who will do what she is told by the administration.

Can anyone say “leadership vacuum”?

I like her because I like the A-10 and nothing can replace it right now. I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but I really wish I did.

I’d encourage everyone here who thinks that retiring the A-10 is a mistake to contact Senator Kelly Ayotte and encourage her. Tell her what you think! Here’s the contact address;


Thank you!

And I sent an edited copy of OLD 391’s above excellent message to my own Senators in Kansas, Roberts and Moran.

You just have to google ‘em. Doesn’t take 10 minutes to take some action to save to A-10!


I just now used the link to Kelly Ayotte’s website that Dave Roberts provided above, to write an email to Sen. Kelly Ayotte, supporting her efforts to keep the A-10 Thunderbolt II / “Warthog” alive…
Remember, it’s Thunderbolt II, after the P-47 of WW2…“Warthog” is only the official nickname for one dedicated squadron…but, yeah, we do tend to call them all “Warthogs”…
…she really is a beautiful, efficient, well-designed aircraft, that COULD, and SHOULD still be flying for decades,
even WITH advances in drone tech…
Keep up the good work, Senator Kelly Ayotte…& thnx, Dave…

It does seem a bit premature to retire the A10 before the F35 is fully on line and ready to do CAS. While it wouldn’t eliminate the logistics tail, pushing them all into the Reserves (with a year round Reserve commitment to provide one SQ in Korea) and reduced flight hours, and no upgrades, might be a more prudent course of action. Then phase out Reserve SQs and F35 SQs come on line.

Im with the Senator with this one we dont have contested air space in the middle east bombing terrorist. We need to the A-10 to support troops SO im with her the JSF is not a CAS plane and carries far few bombs/ordnance. Time to get Chair Force brass out of there stealth love affair.

Ode to the air force

Where golf courses are fair, the housing is prime and the airmen never have to deal with the dirt and grime
where the bullets fly and men often die
where the ground pounders plead for close air support
but the zoom zooms reply with this retort
“we’re too high and too fast to save your dirty ground pounders ass
but of course,
you should’ve joined the air force,
then you could join us on the back nine golf course“
the ground pounders can only wave an angry fist
as the F-35 fly by with nary a wing twist
But there will come a day, the ground pounders say
when the air force doesn’t get it’s way
they will take away their CAS wings and they’ll zoom zoom no more
and then they’ll give them to the Marine Corp

Don’t know what you are talking about in your incoherent reply.

I was referring to James not Ayotte. She (JAMES) has a very limited background in airpower that pales in comparison to almost anyone else that actually has worked to provide air power which would include former USAF officers and DoD/Contractor workers.

The bad part is that if James does not get confirmed they will find another political yes person who will not be stupid enough to be specific about future actions. They will then get confirmed and do whatever their political master want them to do after confirmation.

OOOPS!…sorry, “Weaponhead”, my bad…I thought you were talking about Sen. Kelly *KILLER* Ayotte…
…I get to call her Killer, because I voted FOR her, and I was BORN here in N.H.…
I honestly don’t know much about “Deborah Lee James”, but I’m not too impressed with SOME of Obama’s picks…
You can ignore that comment anyway…and I meant to write “combing”, not “coming”…it makes more sense that way, right…But, again, sorry, my mistake…I *THOUGHT* you usually make more sense than THAT!…lol…

Sorry Bradford, your misreading led to my misreading and response! I do not like ;iberals and demoncrats!!

Dramatis Personae:
Kelly Ayotte-Senator, R-N.H
Deborah Lee James-SECAF nominee
Barack Obama-POTUS
Eric Fanning-acting SECAF
Michael Donley-retired former SECAF

The AF can function without a SECAF. A nomination holdup stops nothing.

Once you stop the dollars, well…

I’m actually glad that Ayotte is demanding answers on this topic. Unfortunately I don’t think the answers will be very satisfactory.

I speculate that the answer will be that all the A-10s will be shot down in minutes and therefore provide no CAS whatsoever. So even though the F-35 is poorly suited to this role it is better than nothing. Net result, we will have to get used to a lower level of support for our ground troops.

If we swore to defend this country from ALL enemies, foreign and domestic, why aren’t there military people storming Congress?

The AC-130 is by far the best CAS asset in an uncontested environment. Ask any grunt on the ground!

I don’t like Libtards, Conservatards, Republicrats OR Demoncrackers…
I believe in NO “ism” except AMERICANISM…
The 2 most destructive forces in America today, is the Duopoly of super-rich ruling elites…
Here in N.H., there are more registered independent voters, than EITHER Repubs or Dems…
The current FedGov shut-down is 100% the FAULT of BOTH “parties”…
Parties’ OVER, get back to WORK, Congress…

Better to HAVE A-10’s, and not NEED them, than to NEED them, and not HAVE them…
They’d be cheap at twice the price…

are they in the NH ANG??

Senator Kelly Ayotte
Irregardless of party affiliation, Washington needs more sensible politicians such as yourself. Being a veteran of the United States Air Force and stationed on A-10 bases, my vote matches yours KEEP THE A-10 FLYING to protect our girls and guys on the front, middle, and rear lines. To quote Sun Tzu: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” The A-10 Warthog is a TACTICAL aircraft **enough said.**
Colonel Gary

Please follow the link, above, to Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s website, and leave her an email comment. I DO KNOW for a fact that her staff LISTENS to active duty and Veterans…I would be MORE surprised if she doesn’t mention “hearing from her constituents” at some soon-coming press briefing.…..

As a soldier on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. They A-10 has saved my squads butt more times then I would like to admit. It is way too soon to retire it, while we still have an active war going on. plus with no significa replacement that’s comparable to it’s duties. That notion just seems very ridiculous to me.

They should actually make some improvements or upgrades and build more A-10’s. A very effective and cost effective aircraft.

Well! Well!..Here we go again, the Air Force trying hard to justify & discontinue a product that truly is worth it’s weight in Gold only to replace it with a product that has a bit more Bling! Bling!…Personnaly, let them rid themselves of this no shit Close Air Support platform that proves it’s value in every climb and place time and time again…Yes! USAF go ahead and rid yourselves of this platform.…Hey! Army & Marine Corps..time to acquire some used battle tested tools for your tool box.…apparently the Air force brass don’t wanna get their hands dirty anymore.
Note: My comments are not directed towards those awesome USAF warriors operating these wonderful weapon systems, and the guys & gals keeping them operational, your welcomed at my camp fire any day…

Beauty and the Beastly Warthog A-10. A slow, maneuverable craft, whose cannon can shred top of the line tanks, pill boxes, bunkers, lines of trenches. Whose pilot is protect by titanium shells, CAS enough to blink an eye and make you feel as if she is with you in the fox-hole or behind a boulder. Very comforting. This Beautiful Beast must be improved and kept for ever. Why? The ground-pounding game will never change. CAS is defined by the A-10. Why reinvent the wheel, over and over and over again. CAS is perfected damn-it! Over and out!

Give the A-10 to the army, they know how important this asset is for them.

Change the fix-wing limitation and hand them over to the Army. Their pilots will work it so close you could shake hands. Let the fly boys stay high, dry to control the skies. We’ll take and hold the ground so they can land and take a shower and eat hot grub. Geesh, nothing changes.

The senator apparently has a vested interest in the A-10. I understand her husband was/is an A-10 pilot.

Come on — the A-10 is the ugliest bird in the sky. But down in the dirt its the baddest. NOTHING can chew up armor like a Warthog. So why haven’t we asked the Marines and the Army, since so many owe their lives to the butt-ugly A-10.

It don’t matter if the Marine Corps or the Army gets the A10 either branch would be happy to drive Warthogs slow and low ridding our enemies of their lifes blood…It is beyond my comprehension why the Air Force thinkers have issue’s with this CAS platform.

Bro I agree to a degree…AC130’s are awesome CAS ships…Absolutely awesome.…but they are to few to go around the Air Force has a few hundred A10’s…IMHO they should have doupled the amount, take the ones mothballed and make them operational again.…only this time give it to the Army or the Marine Corps.

Everyone needs to keep things in perspective. The US military has been told by the administration that they will not be tasked with big COIN fights in the future. They’ve also been directed to cut their budgets. The A-10, an aircraft well loved by everyone (including Gen Welsh) shines in the low-threat COIN environment and that’s just about it. It isn’t relevant in a conventional war with contested airspace. Hence, the A-10 is the logical airframe to put on the chopping block.
I must add that I’m not a fan of any of these decisions. Telling the military “you won’t be asked to fight in x environment” is probably a bad idea.

And you are assuming we will ever get a fully functioning F-35 (well we will but the cost will be about 3x more than originally quoted)>.

I don’t want to speak at a line but I am army my whole life. I was born on Army post in England. And as of November I’m in for 12 years. But I believe the army would be honored to take over the whole fleet of A-10. That aircraft cannot be considered part of the Zumiez. its CAS platform. should definitely be part of the Army Air Corps. Like I said the A-10 has saved my ass plenty of times. One of my MOS is 97E. And I can tell you straight from our enemies mouth they’re terrified of the A-10. I’m heading back over to the devil sandbox in 3 weeks and I hope that they’re there to support me whenever I need them

How can any administration honestly say that they will not task (involve) our forces in any big COIN conflict in the future? are they kidding me. Like saying that World War One was the war to end all wars. Since WW1 there has been over a hundred big and not so big COIN conflicts throughout the world, we were involved in dozens of them. These COIN battles continue today. IMHO I believe it’s preposterous and irresponsible for any civilian or military leadership to say that we’re out of the big COIN conflicts in the future. The A10 Works, it”s saving lives within a three demontional combat arena. Every single Marine & Soldier on the receiving end of our enemies weapons will tell you…A10 Warthog’s is a must on any Battlefield where American boots are.

The A-10 was designed to fight in the Eropean Theater of HIGHLY contested airspace. The A-10 is the only aircraft in the US inventory that can take serious punishment and survive. The A-10 is flies low and that is where supsersonic fighter fear to tread. The 30mm gun will make short work of them. The A-10 is not sexy and fast, so teh USAF wants to kill it to fund other projects. The F-35 is intended to be a stealth bomber for all practical purposes, but a soldier on teh ground can still see it and shoot at it. The F-35 is doubtful to survive 23mm rounds from a Russian AA gun, but the A-10 can survive those rounds!!

Tinkersdam, you have the first coherent perspective in this whole thread of shrill partisans. This is not an AF leadership failure. Every leader agrees the A-10s are awesome and should be in the inventory, but the strategy defined by the ADMINISTRATION and the constricting BUDGET drive the AF to make whole-fleet trades to live within the funding topline. Just the way it is. Unless you’re inside the Beltway and inside the 5-sided Wailing Wall, it’s tough to appreciate the challenge of reducing the defense force (ALL services) when every member on the Hill pulls in different directions.

There is an old saying in the AF, “not a pound for air to ground” It’s a culture thing that has never been adequately resolved since the days of the Army Air Corps.

Three cheers for the Gentle Lady from New Hampshire!
I’m for the F-35, and even the F-22. But we still need the A-10.
Letting the Army take control would take care of both branches


Then that’s why we need the fast movers like the F-35 and F-22 and the rest. They got in first and suppress the enemy air defenses then the A-10 goes in. Anyway, an environment where the A-10 is in danger is one where Army gunships will also have a bad time surviving and if both are around, it meant that army ground forces are doing their thing to sanitize the the air threat.

Do not retire the A-10 transfer the platform to the Army and Marine Corps to use to support the ground troops and while about it transfer the AC-130 over also in the army’s case it could even save money on personal with CWO and enlisted pilots. Let the Air Force be the Air Force with strategic nuclear bombers, ICBMs, air superiority fighters and darn good golf courses. The Air Force should not be bothered with such a mission to support our ground forces anyway as they will tell the rest of us we are just not up to Air Force standards.

Seriously! Army A-10’s is one of the smartest, most cost-effective ideas I can think of. The Army SHOULD have a bunch of A-10’s with Army pilots, doing dedicated Close Air Support, and Over-Watch for ALL ground troops…They don’t need too much in base support systems, and they can always be there at a moments notice…We need to be EXPANDING our A-10 fleet, not cutting it back…STAY SAFE OVER THERE, Soldier!…

It’s a CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FAILURE…The Repubtards couldn’t lead a bunch of Cub Scouts to a marshmallow campfire…And “Demo-crat Leadership”…???… That worse –that’s like the “leader” of a herd of cats…

Yes I agree, that is the first coherent perspective: our elected leadership failed us, failed us in the most awefull way one could imagine. Their lack of leadership and their not understanding the realities that exist within the forward edge of the battle area, not providing those of us at the tip of the spear with the necessary tools to effectively defeat our enemies. IMHO this is criminal in nature. Republicans & Democrats U failed us..AGAIN! ..That’s right!…U FAILED US. Because you failed us, a soldier, Marine, Sailor and Airmen in dire straits in need of CAS is not going to get it.

AAAAMEN !!!!!!!!!!

I Don’t Think a A C-130 , can FLY with a half a wing, or the cockpit shot thru, or, most of a tail section
left at a dune in Iraq… and bring its occupant-s Home.… PERIOD…just look at all the You Tube vids.

As an aerospace engineer, in 1971 I designed the forward fuselage of the A9-A which lost the competition to the A-10. But both aircraft had the same survivability requirements. For example, there was an armored “bathtub” for the pilot, a cockpit with armored glass, damage-tolerant structure, and agile flight capability at near ground level. I find it hard to believe that the F-16 or the sophisticated F-35 will be able to support ground troops as the A-10 did in Iraq. I recall that the A-10 was almost scrapped before the Iraq war. Good thing it wasn’t or US casualties would have been much higher. One flavor of aircraft for all missions including ground support is folly, but a bean counters pipe dream.

…maybe it’s time to get rid of those bean counters and their crack pipe dreams…

Hey Tinkersdam, FYI, the A-10 wasn’t originally designed for CAS, it was designed to knock out Russian tanks coming through the Fulda gap in Germany. It was designed for a HIGH threat environment, full of AA, SAMS, and those nasty Russian tanks with radar directed AA guns (I can’t remember the name)

That’s what the A-10 was built for, killing tanks and APC, not dirt poor insurgents firing AKs. At the time it was designed the Russians had thousands of tanks (to our hundreds) ready to invade Germany (NATO) and he A-10 was seen as a great way to even the odds.

Now, there aren’t too many Russian tanks anymore, but it never the less still has a very important role and it’ll be very useful in the future if we ever go head to head with a “peer” enemy.

Kelly Ayotte sees the battle from the ground up. The new SECAF sees the battle from SAIC’s Boardroom down. Ala Melvin Laird, John Jumper, John Poindexter, Bobby Ray Inman.…. It is a pedigree difference in perspective.

The A-10 could be replaced by AC-130 gunships. They can loiter longer, put more ordnance on target, put a wider variety of ordnance on target, and don’t have to fly in the weeds to do the job.

Highly cotested aireal battle space?…did someone turn off the lights here: The A10 was designed to knock out soviet tanks in Western or Eastern Europe as they crossed the border. The Airspace then would have been the most highly contested air spcae since the Air War during WW2. The Soviets then were equipped with thousands of sophistcated AAA & SAM systems not to mention a formidable Air to Air capability. The A10 was designed with this in mind, and now the leadership is hinting another justification for removing this platform being that the future air space will be to highly contested.…What a buncha crock! Give it to the Army Air Corps…they’ll know what to do with this winner of battles and life saver.…Semper Fi.

No. This is yet another thing you don’t know anything about, yet feel compelled to bloviate over. The A-10 was not designed for knocking out tanks coming across the Fulda Gap. That is just (another) CAS myth. The A-10 was designed for what would be considered permissive to at best medium threat environments in the 70’s. From the AF Systems Engineering A-10 Case Study:
“The A-10 aircraft had an inauspicious beginning for an Air Force that many have suggested only wanted the Air force to keep the Army from ‘taking over’ the CAS mission. The Air Force always believed that a fast multi-role fighter was a better choice for the feared war in Europe, but agreed to procure the A-10 for contingencies and “limited wars” like Vietnam. … Despite these challenges, the Air Force did embrace development of the A-10 and produced a specialized CAS aircraft that would prove effective in a variety of operations throughout the world (fortunately for mankind in the 20th century, a shooting war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact never erupted, and it never became necessary to prove the A-10’s mettle against the armies and air forces of Eastern Europe).”

Two halves of survivability are susceptibility and vulnerability. The A-10 NEEDS to be less vulnerable because it is MORE susceptible. Fast movers are less susceptible, so they afford to be more vulnerable. Fast movers, or at least ‘faster movers’ anyway, combined with modern sensors, communications and weapons will do CAS differently than the A-X generation, and they can do it better at lower risk to plane and crew. CAS is a mission, not a platform.
BTW: if the A-X flyoff had been graded purely on merit, instead of style and politics, the A-9 would have won. The A-9 spent ungodly hours on the hammerhead waiting for the A-10 to get fixed so it could fly. Still think the A-10 was the only one that would have survived the politics though.

Interesting. There isn’t much information out there on the A-9. Could you elaborate a little? (or perhaps, this is more Larry’s court, since he was directly involved)

The only problem is they won’t last long against modern air defense systems.

I totally agree, and I’m Air Force retired! The Air Force today is too enamored with high-tech, costly aircraft, none of which can do CAS worth a damn. The A-10 is the ONLY dedicated CAS aircraft that can do this job. The AF wants to use excuses like “budget restraints and the aircraft’s limited performance in contested airspace”, which is nonsense! Air superiority is the FIRST thing the AF establishes before CAS is employed; give me a break!

The Air Force just wants its latest shiny new jet, the F-35, which is WAY over budget, and by the time it takes to the sky in any munbers will be outdated anyway.


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