Gen. Larry Spencer (USAF, Ret.), president of the Air Force Association discusses the conferenced version of the National Defense Authorization Act, and the rollout of the KC-46 tanker.
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act is headed into the final stretch. In a conference committee, The House and Senate combined their respective versions of the bill. The conferenced act includes provisions like a pay increase and funding for new aircraft. The final vote in the House could happen as early as Thursday, and the Senate is tracking to vote on it in August. Talking with Government Matters about the NDAA, Air Force Association President Gen. Larry Spencer (USAF, Ret.) said that while he likes the 2.9 percent military pay increase, he’s worried about the speed of recapitalization. “If you take the KC-46 as an example, they’re buying 15 a year. If we only buy 15 tankers a year, by the time we replace the tanker fleet, the current KC-135s will be 80 years old,” said Spencer. “I’m concerned about the pace of recap, but it is certainly good news that they are getting on with it.” Spencer told Government Matters that he’s very excited about the bill possibly passing before October. “I’m pinching myself. I spent 44 years in the Air Force, and many of those years in financial management. I can’t remember an appropriations bill being passed on time, or even close to on time. We’ve gotten used to interim bills as a way of life. If Congress is able to get this thing passed, that will be huge.”