The House Armed Services Committee on Thursday publicized statistics it says show the sorry state of U.S. armed forces aviation units and “mold-ridden” barracks.
The report is a Republican effort to underscore how critical the omnibus spending bill is to war-fighters in the wake of “sequester” budget cuts. The bill pumps $47.4 billion for “get our planes back in the air,” the committee said, after two decades of the military flying high-tempo war missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other theaters.
The sorry state:
The average age of Air Force planes is over 27 years.
The Air Force is 2,000 pilots short and “the pilots we do have are flying fewer hours than their predecessors in the 1970s.”
Less than half the Navy’s aviation assets can fly due to lack of spare parts. On the Marine Corps side, about 80 percent of units “lack the minimum number of ready basic aircraft.”
The bill also injects $22.4 billion into what the committee says are needed to repair military buildings and construct new ones.
“Our Armed Forces are struggling with crumbling and mold-ridden barracks, hangars that have been condemned, air traffic control facilities and runways in disrepair, collapsed ceilings and contaminated water,” the committee said. “The backlog of deferred maintenance on facilities has increased from $2 billion in 1978 to $100 billion today.”
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