US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for Illinois Tammy Duckworth
July 26, 2021
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), as part of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that passed the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) with a bipartisan vote of 23-3, secured a provision that would establish a minimum inventory for C-130 fleet. The Duckworth-authored provision would mandate a minimum total aircraft inventory of 292 C-130s for the Air Force, ensuring that the Air Force has sufficient capacity to carry out critical missions both domestically and overseas.
“Maintaining a minimum total aircraft inventory of C-130s is critical to carrying out the work of our Air Force both at home and abroad, especially for our Air National Guard,” Duckworth said. “Our Air National Guard C-130 Flying Wings provide nearly half of the Air Force’s tactical airlift capability. For more than 50 years, we have brought Americans into combat, provided humanitarian relief around the globe, and supported domestic response throughout the nation. In Illinois we know the importance of our C-130 fleets, and I’m pleased to have secured this important provision.”
“Our Illinois National Guard will drop everything at a moment’s notice to protect their fellow Americans, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, to flooding, to insurrection on the home front and to missions overseas – and the number one way we can show our gratitude is by ensuring they have the tools they need to do so,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I want to commend Senator Tammy Duckworth for securing minimum aircraft inventories for the Air Force’s critical missions domestically and overseas in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. Illinois’ own 182nd Airlift Wing has been a part of the Peoria community for over 70 years, and I’ve been a vocal advocate of protecting the fleet to support the emergency response capabilities of the Illinois National Guard. This provision is a demonstration of readiness and a recognition of the Guard’s countless sacrifices, and I’m proud to have it come from Illinois’ own congressional leadership.”
“Our C-130s are the workhorse of the Air Force,” said Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois. “They are critically important to rapidly deploy our service members, equipment, supplies, and humanitarian aid anywhere in the world. Our C-130s were instrumental to bring much needed personal protective equipment to Illinois in the early stages of our COVID-19 response, and enabled the Illinois National Guard to rapidly move more than 800 Soldiers to Washington D.C. to secure the U.S. Capital Complex in January. Even today, Air National Guard C-130’s are fighting wildland fires in California as they drop water on the flames. This provision will ensure our Airmen, particularly those in the National Guard, have the tools to support our national defense and respond to emergencies in our states and across our nation.”
In Peoria, Illinois, the 182nd Airlift Wing’s current C-130H mission performs the tactical portion of various airlift missions and has a strong history of outstanding performance, including the highest C-130H mission capability rate in the Air National Guard from 2009-2017. The 182nd has also achieved the most fully mission capable C-130 hours since June 2013 while flying the most hours since October 2012 for the deployed location.
In May Duckworth led a bipartisan group of 13 senators in advocating for the established minimum total aircraft inventory to be included in this year’s NDAA. Last November, Duckworth joined a bipartisan group of Senators in advocating for a large enough C-130 aircraft fleet in Illinois and across the country to support active duty missions as well as respond to disasters and emergencies at home. The effort supported state requests led by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and 13 other Governors. Duckworth also recently secured a commitment from General Charles Brown, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, to address the gap in advanced air mobility capability that is suitable for distributed warfare in the Indo-Pacific and to work with the National Guard on C-130 issues.
Duckworth is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Chair of the SASC Airland Subcommittee. She is an Iraq War Veteran who served in the Reserved Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. A full list of the Duckworth-authored and supported FY2022 NDAA provisions is available here. The FY2022 NDAA is now set to be considered by the full U.S. Senate