On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) spoke with U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General David Allvin about military readiness during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Armed Services. On Wednesday, he spoke with Alabama Today.
“Being on the Armed Services Committee, that hearing was yesterday with the nomination of a new Chief of the Air Force,” Tuberville said.
Tuberville is concerned that Air Force pilots are getting insufficient time in the cockpit.
“I have gotten several calls from former and present pilots, people that are in the Air Force,” Tuberville explained. “They are very disappointed about the amount of time they get to practice. Of course, being a former football coach, I know the importance of practice. They only get to fly basically one time a month, while our adversaries are flying four times a month.”
“The excuse given by the Chief, the potential new chief of that Air Force, was money, maintenance, and, as you said, the frames of some of our older airplanes,” Tuberville continued. “We are looking into that. I can’t say that is just an excuse. I know the money is there. We spend almost $900 billion a year on the military. I don’t think it is all spent in the right spots. We can’t get an accounting for a lot of it every year. We are going to continue to work on that.”
The General stated one reason for less time in the air was because older planes are finding new ways to break, and those planes spend more time in the depot for refurbishment. Alabama Today asked if that means that we should purchase new F16 and F15 jet fighters as a stopgap until the next generation fighter can be built.
“If we need new airplanes, we need to do it,” Tuberville responded. “I know we are behind in ships. We are far behind the Chinese in ships. A strong military is one of the most important things for this country to have because if we don’t have a strong military with a fighting force that is trained, that can fly, that can sail, that can fight in battle. If we don’t have that, we don’t have anything else in this country because freedom is the most important thing that we look up to, so very good question. We will continue to talk about that situation with the chief of the Air Force, and hopefully, we can get better answers than we got from the chief yesterday.”
Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, and HELP Committees.
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