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Blumenthal Leads Colleagues in Urging Investigation Into Possible Politically-Motivated C-130J Basing Selection

Senators question Air Force’s decision to base new C-130Js in Georgia, ahead of upcoming Senate runoff races

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, led U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and John Tester (D-MT) in a letter to Air Force Inspector General, Lieutenant General Sami D. Said requesting an investigation to uncover if the Air Force’s decision of four Air National Guard bases to receive 24 C-130J planes was influenced by political motives.

“Such an inquiry is essential to prevent yet another attempt to politicize our military and protect against any irregular processes or subjective decision-making,” the Senators wrote. “Adherence to established basing criteria – such as mission capacity, mission capability, and cost, among other factors – ensures that basing decisions meet national defense needs in a cost-effective manner.”

Following consideration of eight Air National Guard installations, the Air Force selected the Louisville Air National Guard Base in Kentucky, the McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in West Virginia, and the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve base in Texas to each receive eight C-130J aircraft in 2021. The Savannah Air National Guard base is slated to receive any additional C-130J aircraft funded in FY 2021.

The Senators raised concerns over the timing of the announcement given the ongoing presidential transition process as well as a Senate runoff election in Georgia in early January. “Congress has also not yet appropriated funding necessary to support C-130J aircraft at the four Air National Guard bases selected, notwithstanding the fact that the Air Force notified Congress in March that it would select only three bases to receive the new aircraft – all of which raises further alarm about the timing of this announcement and its possible impact on the outcome of the Georgia Senate races,” the Senators continued.

The full text of the letter can be found here.