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Ohio Guard accuses AF of fudging C-27J figures


Air National Guardsmen refuse to go quietly into the night and accept the cuts laid out in the Air Force's 2013 budget request.

For the most part it's not the senior leaders who have inflicted the most damage to the Air Force leadership's case. An Air Guard captain and major have put together separate briefings refuting the analysis used on Capitol Hill by senior leaders to justify the cuts.

First, an F-16 pilot wrote up what's called the "Buzz Brief" that has circulated the Pentagon and Congress. Maj. Joe "Buzz" Walter explained how it didn't make sense to cut Guard fighter squadrons to save money if those Guard units are cheaper to operate than active duty squadrons.

Now, it's Ohio Air National Guard Capt. Dave Lohrer's turn to take on his service. He has accused the Air Force of intentionally inflating the life-cycle costs of a C-27J to justify cutting the program as first reported by Defense News.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told Congress that he chose to cancel the C-27J because it was too expensive. He cited the aircraft's 25-year life cycle costs at $308 million per aircraft.

Schwartz said the C-130 could fulfill most, if not all, of the C-27 mission sets at a lower cost. The Air Force four-star then cited the C-130J's 25-year life cycle costs at $213 million per aircraft and the C-130 H at $185 million per aircraft.

The decision to cut the C-27J angered the Air Guard because their units were in line to fly most of the fleet. The Ohio Air Guard flew the first few built.

Lohrer argues that the service added 53 more airmen than the C-27J needs to its cost analysis to push the 25-year life-cycle price up an additional $112 million, according to the Defense News report.

An Air Force officer who has seen the report called it well researched saying the service mistakenly applied the same standards to the C-27J as they did to the C-130 even though they are different aircraft.

Lohrer's report has gained attention from Capitol Hill where Congressmen have attacked the Air Force's  cuts to the Guard. Congress has demanded the service provide them the studies and analysis the service used to justify each cut so their staffs could verify the service's work themselves.

Expect to hear plenty of questions come from Congress on the C-27J when Schwartz and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley return to the Hill on Wednesday to defend its budget before the Senate Defense Appropriations committee.


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