Casey, Toomey Urge Key Senate Committee to Protect 911th in Must-Pass Defense Bill

New Air Force Proposal Would Close Base

Washington DC- Today U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) urged the Senate Armed Services Committee to protect the Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station (ARS), home of the  911th Airlift Wing in a must pass defense bill. The Air Force failed to provide a rationale for why this effective efficient base would close.

Casey and Toomey wrote, “The 911th Airlift Wing is an efficient and cost effective unit.  Its aircraft maintenance program has resulted in an increase of aircraft availability days while saving the Pentagon more than $42 million over the last five years.  Additionally, the Pentagon pays only $20,000 to lease more than 100 acres for the Wing which is a small sum when compared to the parallel costs at other bases and installations. Finally and perhaps most importantly, an incredibly skilled and experienced workforce is employed at the 911th installation, a significant and irreplaceable resource for the Air Force.”

The full text of Casey and Toomey’s letter can be seen below:

The Honorable Carl Levin                                            The Honorable John McCain

Chairman                                                                         Ranking Member

Committee on Armed Services                                   Committee on Armed Services 

United States Senate                                                    United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510                                             Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Levin and Ranking Member McCain:

We are writing to express our opposition to any Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Air Force restructuring proposal which would close the Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, home of the 911th Airlift Wing located outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  We understand that the Air Force may propose revised PB13 provisions for inclusion in the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would include the closure of the Pittsburgh installation.  We think that this proposal does not reflect a thorough analysis of the merits of the 911th Airlift Wing, nor its associated cost savings.  We strongly support the provision for a National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force as mandated by the FY13 NDAA reported out of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The 911th Airlift Wing is an efficient and cost effective unit.  Its aircraft maintenance program has resulted in an increase of aircraft availability days while saving the Pentagon more than $42 million over the last five years.  Additionally, the Pentagon pays only $20,000 to lease more than 100 acres for the Wing which is a small sum when compared to the parallel costs at other bases and installations. Finally and perhaps most importantly, an incredibly skilled and experienced workforce is employed at the 911th installation, a significant and irreplaceable resource for the Air Force.

On November 15, the Council of Governors sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh.  Governor Terry Branstad and Governor Christine Gregoire, co-chairs of the Council, expressed concern about the absence of answers to their questions and agreement on a process to address their concerns.  We believe that the proposed independent national commission will serve to address the concerns held by us, the Council of Governors and our constituents to ensure a thorough analysis of alternatives with regard to the any Air Force base closure and realignment initiative.

We would like to thank you for your leadership on the NDAA and your willingness to engage with members outside the committee to address these serious concerns. 

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.                                                                   Pat Toomey

United States Senator                                                               United States Senator

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Press Contact

April Mellody (Casey) : 202-228-6367

Rebecca Neal (Toomey): 202-224-8609