Boozman Secures Reassurances from Air Force on Importance of Allied Training and Investment in Future F-35 Training Centers
Apr 19 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, questioned Air Force leaders about the importance of U.S.-based training for our nation’s allies at locations like Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith.
During a Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Boozman pressed Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. about the importance of pilots from partner nations training with American airmen at U.S. bases and ensuring the Pentagon invests in F-35 future pilot training centers in order to fulfill the commitment made to allies.
“As we continue to build F-35 capacity, our U.S. bases are becoming resource constrained and affecting our and our allies’ ability to train,” Boozman said.
The Air Force is working to “get Ebbing up to speed and part of that is also to meet the timeline associated with the work we’ve done with our allies and partners so they can get their training on time. In the big scheme of things it helps us all to get their training on time and we appreciate the support from your delegation and we’ve done some really deep work internal to the Department of the Air Force to align things to make sure we get that capability on time at Ebbing,” General Brown said.
Last month, the U.S. Air Force announced it selected Ebbing Air National Guard Base in Fort Smith to host the future F-35 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program that trains military personnel from allied nations on the fifth-generation fighter jet, as well as the new home for the 425th Fighter Squadron, a Republic of Singapore F-16 Fighting Falcon training unit currently based at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
In early April, Boozman and Congressman Steve Womack (R-AR) visited the Republic of Singapore to continue building relationships with the important U.S. ally as it prepares to relocate an F-16 squadron and train on F-35s at Ebbing Air National Guard Base.
On Tuesday, Boozman met with Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce members who played an instrumental role in advocating for the future pilot training center to be based in Fort Smith.