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FIGHTER WING: Grassley Works To Block F-16 Retirement

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Senator Chuck Grassley (WHO-HD)

Senator Charles Grassley is trying a new tactic to keep the 132nd Fighter Wing’s F-16s flying over Des Moines.

He wants to freeze funding for the cost of retiring the jets and stop the Department of Defense from turning the fighter wing into a drone unit.

Grassley introduced the plan as an amendment to a budget bill Monday.

He says Air Guard units are more experienced and more cost effective to operate than regular Air Force units. If they are able to freeze the funds Grassley believes studies will show the cost-effectiveness of keeping the 132nd Fighter Wing in Des Moines.

“The Air Force hasn’t been willing to quantify the reason for its decision or dispute the fact that in a lot of areas, the Air National Guard is at least as capable as full-time personnel, and in some cases more capable, since Guard members serve over a long period of time and gain valuable experience, on top of the fact that over the long run the Guard can be much more cost effective,” Grassley said.  “So, cutting the Guard doesn’t necessarily make sense for achieving maximum savings and it may not make sense for national security, either.”

The senate will vote on the bill later this week.