And the mammoth Falcon Hill project could be in some jeopardy.
That has Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, the entire Utah Congressional delegation, and Gov. Herbert upset at the lack of transparency by the Air Force in the process.
And Stuart Adams, Military Infrastructure Defense Authority chair, also expressed strong frustration at the Air Force’s actions, Wednesday afternoon.
“The base commander ought to have final say on missions performed at the base. That’s the thing that frustrates me the most,” the Layton resident said, adding, “Some of that control is going to be moved to Dayton, Ohio,” home of one of three ALCs.
“It’s something I obviously don’t support. I’ll do everything I can to reverse it,” the state senator said, also lambasting the “behind closed doors” decision-making the Air Force has used.
Meanwhile, the entire Congressional delegation and governor voiced “dismay” in a letter released late Wednesday. It referred to a Nov. 1 closed door meeting “with selected Congressional leaders regarding your anticipated announcement which will outline a major reorganization of the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), significant downgrading of the ALC’s (including at Hill AFB), and the establishment of new centralized bureaucracies in Ohio and Oklahoma.
“As things stand, we cannot support your proposal due to the lack of analysis which prohibits us from judging the efficacy of proposed changes and impacts on sustainment,” the letter said. “Sadly, the Air Force either can’t, or won’t, provide us with the needed answers as the analytical process seems to have been circumvented.”
“Our requests for open dialogue, transparency, and partnership with the highest levels of the Air Force and (AFMC) have continually been rebuffed,” Bishop said in an Oct. 26 letter to the Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley.
“Some general numbers” of any job cuts/transfers were discussed in the closed door meeting with Donley and much of Utah’s congressional delegation Tuesday, said Steve Petersen, senior policy adviser and counsel in Bishop’s office. “They were in the 100-200 (job) range from each ALC that would vanish,” he said.
“They’re (Air Force) quick to say there’s not going to be a RIF (Reduction in Force). That’s this year. We’re looking at the long term. Their plan sets it up so over time, there could really be losses of a lot of jobs.”
Petersen stressed it’s not only the job losses, which are serious, “but the (closed) way they are doing this. In my 23 years in Washington, this is the most closed process I have ever seen,” Petersen said. “It’s a reconfiguration for 3-star bureaucracies. This secretive base selection process flies in the face of the open, transparent process previously used by the Air Force. It now appears locations are pre-determined by the AFMC or other top Air Force decision makers.”
“One of our most significant concerns is the plan could severely undercut the long-term viability of Falcon Hill. That investment (Falcon Hill) now stands at risk through what appears to be an impetuous Air Force reorganization scheme that could reduce demand for Falcon Hill, thereby jeopardizing the future modernization of Hill AFB facilities and infrastructure,” the letter continued. Adams shared those concerns.
The AFMC and Air Force said late Wednesday “restructuring” will take place, including management consolidations. More information will appear in next week’s paper.