Ayotte & the A-10: Hold on, Air Force
Last week, Ayotte placed a hold on James' nomination pending the answer to questions about the future of the A-10 Thunderbolt, popularly known as the Warthog. That troop-support aircraft, developed in the 1970s, has proven highly effective in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the Air Force wants to phase it out to make way for the new F-35, which does not have the same functionality.
Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh told a congressional committee last week that the A-10 might be phased out to save money, even though it's a great plane. Ayotte said at James' confirmation hearing that she had been given a slide from the Air Force that showed the A-10 being divested entirely by fiscal year 2015, The Hill newspaper reported. When she asked James if the decision had already been made, James did not know.