At the request of the House Armed Services Committee, Iowa Congressman Tom Latham will take part in a congressional hearing Thursday focused on Air Force cost reduction plans that include the retirement of 21 F-16s attached to an Iowa National Guard unit based in Des Moines.
Congressman Latham will deliver remarks defending the fighter wing from the proposed cuts and ask questions during a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee's readiness subcommittee. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad will be the first witness to testify before the subcommittee regarding the potential impact of the proposed aircraft reductions.
"The proposal to retire the 132nd Fighter Wing's F-16s is simply irresponsible and could weaken our national security by irreversibly eliminating the considerable expertise and experience amassed by the fighter wing's pilots and maintainers," Congressman Latham said. "Time and again, the 132nd Fighter Wing has served our country with distinction and honor. We owe it to them to make the right decision here."
The Air Force has proposed a reduction of hundreds of Iowa Air Guard positions due to recent recommendations to retire the F-16 mission of the Des Moines-based 132nd Fighter Wing as part of cost-saving measures.
Congressman Latham has taken a number of avenues to protect the highly decorated fighter wing from retirement. Congressman Latham has worked closely with House leadership and colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee to include language protecting the fighter wing in the 2013 Defense Appropriations Bill. He's also testified before the House Armed Services Committee about the potential damage closure of the air wing could do to national security and the local economy.