Panel Asks Air Force, Navy for Details on Criteria for F-35 Basing Decisions

The House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee is eager to learn more about the selection criteria the Air Force and Navy rely on when making stationing decisions for the F-35, according to report language attached to the panel’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill.

The subcommittee directs the two services to brief it before either announces the initial screening and site survey criteria for their next stationing action, or by Dec. 1, 2015, whichever is earlier. The briefing should cover each service’s existing process for stationing, basing and laydown decisions for the F-35, with an explanation of the methodology employed for each criterion.

The briefing also should address:

  • how existing criteria consider actual routings and altitudes traveled to reach training areas;
  • the types or spectrum of training activities the ranges concerned can support;
  • operating costs of flying to and from training areas;
  • how weather at the basing location and the training areas are considered in support of mission requirements;
  • how each military service accounts for installations that control training areas versus those that share training areas controlled by others;
  • whether Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace is factored into available airspace calculations; and
  • if proximity to joint partners for training requirements is evaluated.

The report language emphasizes the subcommittee’s preference that the services keep lawmakers informed about the progress of stationing decisions and that the selection process should be transparent.

“Congressional engagements prior to initial screening criteria, upon determining  candidate locations, upon determining specific site survey criteria, upon determining preferred and reasonable alternatives, and upon making a final decision have been the most effective in keeping the process transparent, repeatable and defendable,” according to the report.

The readiness panel’s portion of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill can be found on the committee website.


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