More than 100 people (Hill staff, journalists, combat pilots and ground commanders, DOD officials and think-tankers) recently attended two events on a national security issue that is usually, even studiously, ignored in Washington: what is the most effective role of air power in war, and what is the thinking behind the Air Force leadership's decision to retire the whole force of A-10 close air support aircraft as soon as possible.
Almost single handedly, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has given the A-10 retirement issue, and the importance of the “Warthog's” close support mission, a visibility that neither have had on Capitol Hill since the days of the Congressional Military Reform Caucus of the 1980s. The importance of the A-10, its role in warfare and the future of the Air Force were all discussed in considerable depth at two events sponsored by the Straus Military Reform Project and the Project On Government Oversight.
Some, but far from all, of the issues were addressed in seven news articles prompted by the two events. More importantly, an amendment incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act by Senator Ayotte mean that the A-10 and close support issues are now rising to Washington DC's consciousness and will remain there for some months to come–until a growing fight is resolved.