On Thursday June 19th, the House of Representatives passed Congressman Jon Runyan's (R-NJ) amendment to H.R. 5856, the Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Act of 2013. The amendment introduced by Congressman Runyan would reinforce current law that requires the Department of Defense to use American owned aircrafts in the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. Congressman Runyan's amendment passed by voice vote.
In the 1950s the Department of Defense created the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) to supplement the DoD's air transport needs. The program works with U.S. based airlines to provide aircraft for transportation missions within the military. Unfortunately, Rep. Runyan found that the Department of Defense has been using foreign companies to provide airlift capabilities, despite this being a violation of the Fly CRAF Act. This means that $140 Million in American taxpayer dollars have gone to support foreign companies for the program, just this fiscal year. Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey is a major hub for CRAF operations on the East Coast.
"It is completely ridiculous that the DoD is regularly using foreign air planes outside of the exception for emergency situations," said Congressman Runyan. "This blatant outsourcing will discourage American airlines from participating in this program, which could result in a decrease in American jobs. The country is in the midst of an incredibly weak recovery and the federal government should be doing everything in its power to fix the struggling economy. Paying foreign companies to do a job that American companies can do is not going to help. Not only does this pose a problem for our economy, it could pose a safety issue and is a potential threat to our national security. Many foreign airline companies do not have to adhere to the strict safety regulations and Federal Aviation Administration rules that American airline companies follow. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that this practice does not continue and that DOD follows the law when supporting our warfighters."
Congressman Runyan is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves on the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and the Subcommittee on Readiness. He also serves on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.