The United States has the best military in the world, and the residents of the 51st District would like to keep it that way. However, not everyone across our country agrees with this sentiment. Unfortunately, those who are short of foresight are looking to trim away vital military assets; among those on the hit list is the A-10 mission.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II (aka Warthog) proved its worth in the First Gulf War destroying the tank battalions of the Iraqi army. This saved countless American and Allied lives during the action and proved that despite its less than sleek looks, the A-10 is a valuable resource for our military. The plane fires 30mm rounds (at a rate of 70 per second) of armor-piercing shells as well as various missiles. In addition to tanks, it can take out anti-aircraft batteries and other targets. It is a strike craft of enormous durability and accuracy. Unfortunately, with continued defense budget cuts, Whiteman Air Force Base missions are in peril.
The sequester cuts and the modified sequester cuts continue to cut deep into national defense. Whiteman has become a vital part of the defense structure of our nation, and our communities have benefitted greatly from the military presence in the area. The latest economic impact study at Whiteman estimates a payroll of $337,977,721 for active, reserve, and civilian personnel, and the annual retiree payroll is estimated at $83,856,000. That's a lot of money within the 51st District and the surrounding districts! Within this realm of employment, the A-10 mission houses almost 13.5 percent of the total force. Its mission is quite significant for the base.
I have filed a House Concurrent Resolution along with Stanley Cox and Denny Hoskins. This resolution expresses the support of the Missouri House to this mission as copies will be sent to our entire congressional delegation in Washington, DC. In part, it reads:
"Now therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-seventh General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, hereby strongly urge the United States Air Force to retain the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft fleet . . ."
David Pearce has the same resolution in the Missouri Senate. The General Assembly strongly supports Missouri's role in America's national defense, and we are expressing that support from our state to those working on the federal budget.
Governor Nixon also supports the defense mission in Missouri. On Friday, he announced his "military partnership" to promote Missouri as a strong partner in our national defense. State Treasurer Clint Zweifel is heading up this effort. I will be meeting with the partnership members next week. Certainly, saving our military readiness is a bipartisan effort.
My primary concern is that in decommissioning the A-10s or mothballing the planes and trying to reactivate them during a war will not keep us at our top efficiency, and will not keep our deterrence capabilities at a maximum. In a world of constant threats in the Middle East as well as North Korea, a major global challenger in China, and the lack of any other force to maintain order in the international system the goal of peek military readiness is extremely vital. The A-10 contributes greatly to this mission.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City and Missouri. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.