DATE: July 16, 2014

TO: Mayor and Council FROM: Councilmember Richard Fimbres
Ward 5

SUBJECT: Meetings in Washington D.C. (Defense Issues)

During my vacation, I had meetings with administration officials, congressional staff and
consultants about immigration, postal reform and defense issues involving Tucson and Southern
Arizona. These meetings were arranged by our federal lobbyists.

I met with Dr. Barry Blechman and his team, the staff of Rep. Barber and the majority and
minority leaders of the House Armed Services Committee. All meetings confirmed that the A-
10, a 40-year old weapons system, will be protected in the coming year, but momentum to
replace it will continue to grow with the Pentagon experiencing increased budget pressures. The
future of DM could be quite bright if we can get ahead of the curve and focus on new missions
that fit the community’s needs.

Dr. Blechman and his team believe they can conclude a study in time to influence this year’s
important Pentagon budget debate and create new thinking among the Air Force brass about
potential uses for DM. All sources agree, given the location of the boneyard and the steps the
City has taken to expand it, that DM will remain open. The question is how many operating
units will be placed there, what their roles will be, and how many Air Force and civilian
personnel they will employ. Our goal is not merely to replace the A-10 mission, but to expand
and improve upon it.

Given the potential of sequestration returning next year which will put even greater pressure on
federal resources, it is crucial for Tucson to get in the debate immediately and to get its position
to the highest authorities possible who are engaged in the Pentagon budget debates. Therefore,
our recommendation is the City take immediate action.

Provided below are highlights of the meetings.


This year in the House both the National Defense Authorization Act and the FY2015 Defense
Appropriations included language that would prevent the Pentagon from retiring the A-10. Rep.
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Barber (D-AZ) led this effort by offering amendments to both bills that passed by overwhelming

The Senate National Defense Authorization Act contained similar language to save the A-10 and
their FY2015 Defense Appropriations bill, which is scheduled for markup on July 17th, is
expected to also contain similar language. Rep. Barber continues to convey the message to his
colleagues in the Senate, including to Senate Defense Appropriations Committee Chairman Dick
Durbin (D-IL.) Senator McCain is working to protect the A-10 in the Senate as well.

The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee voted to include $338 million for A-10
operations in its fiscal 2015 funding bill. Chairman Durbin (D-IL) indicated there was strong
support for including it in the bill. Since both the House and Senate have rejected the Pentagon’s
proposal, it is very likely that this language will be retained in the final conferenced bills and that
funding will be restored to protect the A-10.


Both the House and Senate National Defense Authorization Act also rejected the Pentagon’s
request to have another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and the action is expected to be
retained in the final bill. In the words of the House Armed Service Committee Chairman
McKeon (R-CA) the BRAC “for sure will not be included in this year’s bill.” However, the staff
pointed out that the Pentagon can achieve budget savings without the benefit of BRACs so the
planning happening in the Pentagon today will drive the decisions made tomorrow.

Outlook for A-10 and BRAC

While advocates of the A-10 and opponents of BRAC have been successful thus far to influence
this year’s defense legislation, the budget pressures are expected to persist. According to
committee staff, pressure to reduce the defense budget will continue to mount in the coming
years. If Congress resumes their budget sequestration next year, cuts to installations and planes
will be inevitable. Therefore, justifications will have to continue to be made to show the value of
averting reductions to these local installations and projects.

The communities that are getting ahead of the situation will have the greater advantage. As for
recommendations made, the suggestion was that a thorough analysis of the situation be
conducted to determine the opportunities and threats. It was also suggested that the community
consider creative partnership opportunities with other federal agencies and between the City and
the base through Section 331 public/private partnerships to provide local expertise on issues to
drive down military costs.

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Fort Huachuca

As you may be aware, the Pentagon’s budget proposal calls for extensive reductions in force in
the Army, cutting 100,000 between now and 2019. At Fort Huachuca, the worst case estimate
could be a 20% reduction in force, or 2,700 soldiers. However, we were informed that is the
worst case and that the Army goes through a process similar to a BRAC to determine reductions
so evaluating the criteria for assessing bases is critical. The idea of developing creative
partnerships with federal agencies applies with Fort Huachuca as well.

I want to thank Tracy Tucker and Terry Bracy for setting up these meetings for me while I was in
Washington, D.C.


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