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U.S.A.: Last Ditch Ploy to Save C-130J

An amendment was slipped into Iraq Supplemental spending bill behind closed doors that would prohibit the Pentagon from terminating the C-130J program. The Senate is expected to vote on final passage of the bill next week.


by Steve TurnerMacon Daily
May 5th, 2005

MACON,GA.- An amendment authored by U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., that would prohibit the Pentagon from spending fiscal year 2005 supplemental funds to terminate the C-130J program, was included in the House-Senate Conference Report on the Iraq Supplemental spending bill. The Senate is expected to vote on final passage of the bill next week.

Specifically, the Chambliss-Isakson amendment will ensure that the C-130J program – which meets validated Air Force and Marine Corps requirements – is not cancelled in fiscal year 2005 and that the Department of Defense follows through with completing the multi-year procurement contract.

“Retaining this amendment in the final version of the bill sends a clear message that Congress does not support early termination of the C-130J multi-year procurement program,” said Chambliss. Our military needs this aircraft and it is already proving its value as demonstrated on April 16 when US Marines in Iraq used a KC-130J to drop supplies to a forward operating base in Iraq. This single airdrop provided six truckloads worth of supplies to the Marines on the ground and eliminated a requirement to move the supplies by ground convoy.”

“This is great news for Georgia and the country as a whole. This decision further reaffirms our position that canceling the C-130J is unacceptable,” Isakson said. “This program is vitally important to the national security of the United States, and spending up to $1.6 billion of taxpayer money to terminate it in the middle of the contract just doesn’t make sense.”

Over the past several months the C-130J, KC-130J, as well as C-130J’s operated by our coalition partners in Iraq have performed superbly. To date, C-130J’s in Iraq have flown over 400 missions with a mission capable rate of 93 percent and have performed all missions successfully. KC-130J’s have flown 789 hours in Iraq with mission capable rates in excess of 95 percent.

The Chambliss-Isakson amendment was necessary because the Department of Defense has not yet submitted the amended budget request for this program that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and others discussed during previous congressional hearings.