28 March, 2019 06:10

Good morning, Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Thursday, March 28, 2019, which is Children’s Picture Book Day, National Hot Tub Day, National Something On A Stick Day, and Respect Your Cat Day.

Today in American Legion History:

  • March 28, 1919: Stars and Stripes publishes the first story in which “The American Legion” is named as an organization of wartime veterans.
  • March 28, 1934: The Legion records one of its most significant legislative victories ever by driving forward Public Law 141, which is vetoed by President Roosevelt but later overridden by Congress, protecting disabled veterans and their benefits from federal budget cuts under the Economy Act.
  • March 28, 2000: Contributions from The American Legion Family – The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion – stand at over $2.7 million to help build a new National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. By the end of the year, the figure will exceed $3.4 million.

Today in History:

  • At 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the worst accident in the history of the U.S. nuclear power industry begins when a pressure valve in the Unit-2 reactor at Three Mile Island fails to close. Cooling water, contaminated with radiation, drained from the open valve into adjoining buildings, and the core began to dangerously overheat.
  • 1969: Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States and one of the most highly regarded American generals of World War II, dies in Washington, D.C., at the age of 78.
  • On March 28, 1915, the first American citizen is killed in the eight-month-old European conflict that would become known as the First World War. Leon Thrasher, a 31-year-old mining engineer and native of Massachusetts, drowned when a German submarine, the U-28, torpedoed the cargo-passenger ship Falaba, on its way from Liverpool to West Africa, off the coast of England. Of the 242 passengers and crew on board the Falaba, 104 drowned. Thrasher, who was employed on the Gold Coast in British West Africa, was returning to his post there from England as a passenger on the ship.
  • On this day in 1984, Bob Irsay (1923-1997), owner of the once-mighty Baltimore Colts, moves the team to Indianapolis. Without any sort of public announcement, Irsay hired movers to pack up the team’s offices in Owings Mills, Maryland, in the middle of the night, while the city of Baltimore slept.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  • Washington Post: mseaveywith “Remove” in the subject line. If you have received this from someone who forwarded it and would like to be added, email mseavey.

    Washington Post: Soldier’s posthumous Medal of Honor highlights the Pentagon’s struggles to fully recognize valor in combat
    By Dan Lamothe | March 27 at 5:11 PM
    Army Sgt. Sand Aijo was in the gun turret of a Humvee in 2007 when he and his fellow soldiers rolled up on two suspicious men in Iraq’s “Triangle of Death.” They were in a place U.S. soldiers didn’t expect to find them, and so glassy-eyed and fidgety that Aijo charged his machine gun, he recalled.
    Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins, their gruff but revered squad leader, stepped out of the Humvee and walked toward the first stranger. Then an Army medic stepped out of the back seat, moving toward the second.
    As Aijo tried to keep track of both soldiers, Atkins unexpectedly began grappling with the first Iraqi just a few feet away. Atkins grabbed him in a bear hug, slammed him to the ground and pinned him down.
    “The thing that became confusing was that once they hit the ground, the way that Travis began positioning his body, it just seemed strange to me,” Aijo said. “That’s when the detonation happened.”
    On Wednesday, Atkins, of Bozeman, Mont., posthumously became the fifth U.S. service member to receive the nation’s highest award for combat valor, the Medal of Honor, for actions during the Iraq War.
    Atkins’s son, Trevor Oliver, accepted the award on behalf of his late father from President Trump, who highlighted how Atkins, then 31, died June 1, 2007, saving the lives of the three other soldiers by choosing to smother a suicide vest with his own body.
    “In his final moments on earth, Travis did not run. He didn’t know what it was to run," Trump said. “He laid down his life to save the lives of his fellow warriors.”
    The case highlights the Pentagon’s longtime struggles to fully recognize some of the U.S. military’s most highly regarded modern-day heroes — and underscores the likelihood that the Pentagon may soon belatedly award other service members the nation’s highest combat decoration.
    To date, no living service member or veteran has received the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq. Seventeen Americans have been awarded Medals of Honor for actions in Afghanistan, including four posthumous awards.
    Doug Sterner, an Army veteran and historian who has testified before Congress on valor issues, said Wednesday that he is aware of at least one case in which a living Army veteran will soon be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq. Sterner said he could not disclose whom, and Army officials declined to comment.
    Atkins’s award is the latest to surface since defense secretary Ash Carter launched a review in 2016 after years of U.S. troops and some members of Congress voicing frustration over how few recipients came from modern conflicts.
    The Pentagon set out to review more than 1,300 cases in which U.S. troops had received the nation’s second- and third-highest valor awards to make sure the recipients were not worthy of a more prestigious medal.
    In Atkins’s case, his battalion commander in the 10th Mountain Division, now-retired Army Col. John Valledor, nominated him for the Medal of Honor. The Army downgraded the award to the Distinguished Service Cross, the service’s second-highest award, and presented it to his family in 2008.
    Valledor said Tuesday he was “pretty satisfied” when Atkins received the Distinguished Service Cross. But he acknowledged being surprised the higher award was not approved. He nominated Atkins for the Medal of Honor after researching earlier cases in which recipients had smothered grenades, he said, and concluded that the only difference was that in Atkins’s case, “it was a living grenade.”
    “I had a lengthy discussion with my chain of command, and I think the consensus was that we were too close to it,” he said. “That we were too emotionally tied to the narrative.”
    Similar stories linger.
    In August, Trump posthumously awarded Air Force Tech Sgt. John Chapman the Medal of Honor for his actions in March 2002 on a snowy Afghan mountaintop. Chapman, 36, received the Air Force Cross, his service’s second-highest award, in 2003 for fighting to his death and fending off the ambush of a helicopter filled with Army Rangers, but the Pentagon determined he deserved the higher decoration.
    Last May, Trump also awarded Navy Command Master Chief Britt Slabinski, 49, the Medal of Honor for valor in the same battle in which Chapman was killed. The Navy SEAL had received the Navy Cross, but the medal was upgraded after the Pentagon’s review.
    Potentially unresolved cases include that of Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, 35. He posthumously received the Silver Star after pulling six wounded soldiers from a burning Bradley Fighting Vehicle in a fuel-soaked uniform in Iraq on Oct. 17, 2005, suffering burns over more than 70 percent of his body.
    His battalion commander at the time, now-Maj. Gen. Gary Brito, told the Los Angeles Times in 2014 that he wishes he had submitted Cashe for the Medal of Honor.
    “If Cashe doesn’t get a Medal of Honor, I’m just going to be totally disappointed," Sterner said. “It’s the most striking example of a Medal of Honor that I have ever accounted.”
    The dearth of modern Medals of Honor has been attributed to the inexperience U.S. commanders had with recommending and processing the award early in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The United States had not been in a major conflict in years, and few Vietnam veterans remained in the ranks.
    Dwight Mears, a retired Army officer and historian who published a book about the Medal of Honor, said that there was “a cultural problem with the military not knowing what the appropriate gallantry thresholds were."
    “I think it is largely resolved at this point, but there was some naiveté early in those conflicts,” he said.
    U.S. military officials said Wednesday that the Pentagon also has approved recent upgrades for 12 soldiers to receive Distinguished Service Crosses, three Marines and 12 sailors to receive Navy Crosses, and five airmen to receive Air Force Crosses. The medals were upgraded from the Silver Star, the third-highest valor award.
    The Marine Corps also upgraded nine additional awards to Silver Star, and the Navy upgraded 18. The Air Force upgraded four additional awards to Silver Star and two to Distinguished Flying Cross with V device.
    Members of the Atkins family told reporters Tuesday that they were appreciative of the Distinguished Service Cross and did not believe that Atkins’s award would be elevated when the White House reached out to them.
    In fact, Oliver and Atkins’s father, Jack, said with a chuckle that they initially thought the calls from Washington were part of a scam. In reality, it was administration staff members trying to connect them with Trump.
    “I thought there was some elaborate plan going on and they were just trying to fool me. I immediately was not very nice to people on the phone, and I was being rather rude,” said Oliver, who was 11 when his father died. “My girlfriend was in the room, and she said my jaw was on the floor and I was beet red. It was a liberating experience. It’s such an incredible, incredible honor.”
    Aijo said he was “speechless” when he found out about the upgrade for his former mentor.
    “You don’t think about things like this that often, so it brought back a lot of emotion for me,” he said. “Once I had time to kind of settle and bring back my thoughts, I was extremely overjoyed. It was nice to know that a grateful nation would be equally thankful for this sacrifice as I was.”

    Stars & Stripes: House rebuke of military transgender ban nears vote
    By CLAUDIA GRISALES | STARS AND STRIPES | Published: March 27, 2019
    WASHINGTON — The House is poised to vote on a resolution this week that rebukes a controversial Trump administration ban of transgender personnel in the military ahead of the plan’s potential implementation next month.
    The House on Wednesday approved debate of the resolution on the House floor and could see passage of the measure by Thursday in the Democrat-controlled chamber.
    Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., a mother of an Air Force veteran, said the transgender ban “hits close to home.”
    “Our nation has broken a promise to their children. This doesn’t make us safer,” Torres said from the House floor of the transgender ban. “We should welcome every qualified person who is willing to stand up to the plate and enlist in our armed forces.”
    The resolution, H.Res. 124, is authored by Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., and has 214 mostly Democratic co-sponsors. That support will likely ensure its passage in the lower chamber this week.
    The resolution expresses opposition to banning service in the armed forces by openly transgender individuals. It states the service of transgender individuals has had “minimal” impact on the military since it was permitted in 2016. The resolution estimates thousands of transgender personnel now serve in the military and disputes the Defense Department contention that there is scientific uncertainty regarding the efficacy of related care.
    Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., said the military’s care of transgender personnel in 2017 cost $2.2 million, one-tenth of 1 percent of Defense Department’s annual health care budget for active-duty servicemembers. However, the cost to train a single fifth-generation fighter pilot is $11 million, she said.
    “Consider how short-sighted this ban is,” Trahan said from the House floor. “So the retraining cost of losing just one transgender military pilot would be five times more than the entire transition-related care for the military for a year.”
    The debate comes on the heels of a Tuesday move by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to drop a final, remaining injunction stopping implementation of the ban. Some experts said they expected the decision to allow the Defense Department to proceed with its plans to implement the ban as early as next month.
    In January, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling in favor of the ban, allowing the measure to stay in place pending several lawsuits fighting the move.
    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia previously said a lower court judge erred in blocking the policy, also known as the “Mattis Plan,” which was named for former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who drafted its specifics. The policy originated from a proposal in 2017 by President Donald Trump.
    The White House effort to ban transgender people from military service was subsequently mired in confusion, chaos and a web of litigation for nearly two years after Trump fired off a series of tweets that ignited the controversy, some experts have said.
    “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you,” Trump’s July 26, 2017 tweets read.
    A 2016 Pentagon policy to open the military to transgender individuals had remained in place, but a Trump administration effort to reverse it created a chilling effect for potential recruits and heightened fears for some servicemembers, some advocates for transgender personnel have said.
    About a month after the Trump tweet, the president formally issued a new directive to the Defense Department to issue the ban. With that, Mattis issued a new 48-page policy in March 2018 to ban most transgender individuals from serving in the military. The transgender military ban by Trump had been blocked by four federal judges, with injunctions pending the outcome of four discrimination lawsuits filed by transgender individuals and advocates against the federal government.
    Also following the Trump tweets, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, then-chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and more than 50 retired generals and admirals condemned the move.
    Other senators filed legislation to block a military transgender ban. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who through Senate Armed Services Committee hearings last year, was able to confirm with all four military service chiefs that transgender servicemembers have not impacted morale or created problems for the services. Also, current and former top U.S. medical officials charged the ban was not based on a medically valid reason.
    However, the Pentagon policy called for the reversal of the policy by former President Barack Obama’s administration to lift the ban on transgender men and women serving in the military, but allows people serving now to remain in the service. The new policy disqualifies from service all transgender people who require or have already undergone gender transition, and bans people with current or recent gender dysphoria diagnosis other than in rare circumstances.

    Defense News: ‘There are going to be consequences’: Shanahan prepares for congressional pushback to reprogrammed funds
    By: Aaron Mehta and Joe Gould | 14 hours ago
    MIAMI and WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has pushed through a $1 billion reprogramming request despite opposition from Democratic leadership — fully expecting the House to strip the department of its ability to reprogram funds in the future.
    The money was transferred to the Corps of Engineers Tuesday night, Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist told the House Budget Committee on Wednesday morning. Norquist, who is also acting deputy defense secretary, said, "They can put it under contract if the contracts are ready.”
    Speaking to reporters while en route to Florida, Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan confirmed that the plan had been to push the reprogrammed funding through regardless of what he termed “consequences” for the department long term.
    “Yes it is. We’re following the law,” Shanahan said when asked if the plan was to reprogram despite congressional intent. “We’re very sensitive to the consequences of these kinds of actions, and the relationships we’ve built up over time.
    “There are going to be consequences, and I understand the position of the committees. I also have a standing legal order from the commander in chief,” he added.
    Shanahan’s comments came while traveling en route to U.S. Southern Command. Defense News is traveling with Shanahan for the duration of the trip.
    On Monday night, Shanahan announced that he had authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to spend up to $1 billion to support the Department of Homeland Security’s request “to build 57 miles of 18-foot-high pedestrian fencing, constructing and improving roads, and installing lighting within the Yuma and El Paso Sectors of the border.”
    The action comes amid galvanizing opposition from congressional Democrats.
    While Shanahan was traveling Wednesday, the House’s lead appropriator for defense, Rep. Pete Visclosky, made public a letter denying the Pentagon’s reprogramming request. While, legally, the department has the right to move its funding around, the tradition has been to ask Congress to approve their requests out of respect for the legislative body.
    Visclosky suggested that the administration, with this move, was creating lasting damage. “With this unilateral action, the historic and unprecedented comity that has existed between the Committee and the Department has been breached,” said Visclosky of Indiana.
    A day earlier, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., offered his own denial. Previously, he warned that if the Pentagon pushes through a reprogramming without his approval, the House’s Democratic leadership would move to strip its authority to reprogram money for future fiscal years.
    Asked if he expected Smith to follow through on his threat, Shanahan was blunt, saying “I would expect that to happen. [Smith] wouldn’t say that and not mean it.”
    Losing the authority to reprogram funds could be a major blow to the Pentagon’s ability to respond to crises, according to analysts. They warn losing that ability could hamstring the department in the future.
    “It’s just a very difficult situation,” Shanahan said. “It’s going to take, we’re going to have to be artful to manage this. I don’t think it’s going to be easy.”

    Military Times: Here are the Air Force bases DoD says are most at-risk to climate change
    By: Tara Copp | 18 hours ago
    Earlier this year, the Pentagon released a report on which mission-critical installations faced the most risk due to extreme weather events, including floods, drought and wind. That list generated push back from Congress, which sought further clarity on the issue.
    On Tuesday, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., released the Pentagon’s updated list, which ranks each service’s most at-risk installations. For the Air Force, it’s Hill Air Force Base in Utah. DoD found Hill to be at risk of flooding, desertification, wildfires and drought.
    Langevin said he still questions how DoD calculated that risk. For example, the overall list does not name any Marine Corps installations, such as Camp Pendleton in California, which has faced wildfire threat, or Camp Lejeune, which was badly damaged by Hurricane Florence last year.
    In its letter to Langevin, DoD said the bases were selected by the importance of their operational roles. In addition, while DoD said it was a “top 10 list” for each service, there were more than 10 bases named for each service.
    “The revised report continues to leave off overseas bases, and it fails to include massive military installations like Camp Lejeune. Most importantly, it continues to lack any assessment of the funds Congress will need to appropriate to mitigate the ever increasing risks to our service members,” Langevin said.
    DoD’s revised list comes as Air Force made an urgent request Wednesday for supplemental funding for the severe storm damage it has faced in the last few months.
    The Air Force needs $4.9 billion to rebuild Hurricane Michael-ravaged Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and repair the recently flooded Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Secretary Heather Wilson said Wednesday.
    Neither Offutt nor Tyndall made the Pentagon’s top at-risk bases. Here’s DoD’s list of the top Air Force bases most at risk to flooding, drought, wildfires or desertification:

    • Hill Air Force Base, Utah
    • Beale Air Force Base, California
    • Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
    • Greeley Air National Guard Station, Colorado
    • Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
    • Patrick Air Force Base, Florida
    • Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
    • Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana
    • Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma
    • Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina
    • Joint Base San Antonio, Texas

    Air Force Times: Tyndall to suffer work stoppage in May unless Congress grants additional funding for reconstruction
    By: Valerie Insinna and Stephen Losey | 16 hours ago
    TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., and WASHINGTON — In the months since Hurricane Michael hit Tyndall Air Force Base last fall, a sort of normalcy has returned. After an extensive cleanup effort, the base’s F-22 simulators are back in use. Unmanned QF-16s sweep across the sky, and F-22s make periodic showings in the airspace.
    Base leadership told Defense News during a Feb. 25 visit that they are getting the funding they need for immediate requirements. But that could all stop May 1 unless Congress approves a supplemental funding bill.
    Back in Washington, Air Force leaders are warning that they will have to defer 61 facility repairs at 18 other bases if lawmakers don’t quickly approve a new cash infusion.
    The situation is further complicated by devastating floods that battered Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, this month. The service now estimates it will need $1.2 billion in fiscal 2019 and $3.7 billion in fiscal 2020 and 2021 for recovery at Tyndall and Offutt.
    “We desperately need the supplemental funding to recover from the natural disasters that hammered Tyndall and Offutt,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said at the Heritage Foundation Wednesday.
    "There are other decisions we’ll have to make if we don’t [have supplemental funding] by May or June. These are just the first decisions that we had to make yesterday … 61 projects in 18 states are not going to happen because we have not gotten a disaster supplemental for Tyndall.”
    In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, the Air Force has spent about $410 million on Tyndall, Wilson told reporters earlier this month. All of that has come out of the service’s fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance account — specifically the Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization account — meaning that the service is raiding funds meant for other projects that were set to start later this year.
    “If we don’t get that supplemental, really by April of this year, we’re going to have to start deferring projects at other bases for facility modernization and ops maintenance stuff, because we’ve had to rob all these other accounts, and we still don’t have a supplemental,” Wilson said after a March 12 congressional hearing.
    What could be on the chopping block if Congress can’t manage to pass a supplemental?
    Aside from the work stoppage at Tyndall that would start in May, the Air Force would have to begin deferring aircraft repairs on May 15. This could throw a wrench into the Air Force’s plans to improve mission-capable rates for its aircraft — and especially the F-16, F-22 and F-35 fighters. Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last year ordered the Air Force to get those three air frames up to 80 percent mission-capable by the end of September 2019.
    In July, a work stoppage for the recovery at Offutt would begin, “with the exception of immediate health and safety needs,” the service said. However, facilities would not be assessed, and damage mitigation efforts would be delayed. This could worsen the mold and water damage at Offutt’s flooded facilities.
    Finally, by September, five unspecified bombers would be grounded, and a backlog of maintenance for the E-3 airborne warning and control aircraft would begin, the Air Force said in a statement. At this point, about 18,000 flying hours would be cut from training, which would mean pilot readiness in the Air Force would take a hit.
    At least for now, Tyndall is getting all of the funding it is asking for, Col. Brent Hyden, the program manager for Tyndall’s reconstruction, told Defense News in February.
    However, he made clear that — at some point — other bases would be hurt by the funds diverted to Tyndall.
    “The Air Force uses a construction tasking order for deciding how we do repairs worldwide, how we prioritize repairs and facility construction worldwide. We have been pulling off that to fund the Tyndall reconstruction,” Hyden said. “There are projects on the construction tasking order that may not get funded this year — for other bases — if there is no supplemental.”
    The list of projects that could be deferred, provided by the Air Force, includes facilities across the United States and at overseas bases.
    Included in the 61 potentially delayed projects are heating ventilation and air conditioning repairs or replacements at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Kunsan Air Base in South Korea, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina.
    Other projects that could be delayed include: runway repairs at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs; dorm renovations at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; roof repairs at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland; renovations to a sensitive compartmented information facility at Dyess; and repairs to the academy’s iconic cadet chapel.
    The Air Force last week unveiled a new long-term infrastructure strategy that it hopes will whittle down a $33 billion backlog in building repairs. It will raze its oldest, most dilapidated buildings (5 percent of the total) and concentrate spending on buildings that need preventive maintenance before they get worse. But even that effort could get sidetracked if the Air Force has to divert money to pay for disaster recovery.
    A little help from Congress?
    By the end of the FY19, Wilson estimates, the Air Force will need $750 million in O&M funds plus about $150 million in military construction money to start the planning for Tyndall’s reconstruction. Offutt will require $350 million to begin recovering the base.
    The total bill for Tyndall’s reconstruction? The Air Force is still assessing exactly how it wants to rebuild the base, including what will be demolished and built anew, but lately officials have been saying anywhere from $4.5 billion to $5 billion.
    As for Offutt, Wilson said the total price tag remains unknown.
    “We haven’t even begun to estimate fully what the impact at Offutt is going to be,” Wilson said at Heritage.
    But some immediate relief could be forthcoming.
    The House in January passed one hurricane relief bill, sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Appropriations Committee. That legislation would provide $700 million in military construction funds and $400 million in O&M to the Air Force to address the damage caused by Hurricane Michael, and it was transferred to the Senate this month.
    On Tuesday, Senate appropriators released a complementary version of the bill, which like Lowey’s legislation would provide a total $1.1 billion to Tyndall.
    Local advocates for the base are hopeful that the Senate will take up hurricane relief legislation as early as this week.
    “That would be a great start,” said Tom Neubauer, head of Bay County Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that is working with the Florida delegation to get supplemental funding for Tyndall.
    “If we don’t get this money, there are going to be a lot of issues impacting readiness across the Air Force,” he said. “They’ve spent a lot of money and it could affect everything from flying hours to repair projects all across the enterprise. So we’re really concerned about that.”
    Behind the scenes troubles
    Getting additional funding has been a slow and often political process. The Office of Management and Budget has not approved a supplemental funding request, which certain lawmakers in the House wanted to see before moving forward on legislation, Neubauer said.
    Wilson has maintained that Congress does not need a proposal from the administration to pass a supplemental, and another Air Force official told Defense News that the service has found other ways to convey its FY19 hurricane recovery funding requirements to Congress.
    In a March 23 memo, Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan said that he would “work with Congress to enact a supplemental to cover hurricane, storm, and flooding recovery costs that the Department is not typically expected to absorb,” but it was unclear whether a request could be coming from OMB itself.
    But in her increasingly public warnings about the current lack of disaster spending, Wilson says the consequences to the service could be dire, widespread — and imminent.
    “This storm, if we don’t get a supplemental, is going to affect the rest of the Air Force and our ability to operate," Wilson said Wednesday. "We desperately need the supplemental to recover from the natural disasters that hammered Tyndall and Offutt.”
    Rebecca Grant, a national security analyst at IRIS Independent Research, said the Air Force is trying to prevent a “mini sequestration.” She noted that there’s “always an additional cost” for when work has to stop and restart again later, but it’s also possible that this could have an even more longstanding detrimental impact to readiness.
    “Does this put her readiness tasker at risk with the instructions to get certain airframes up to [an] 80 percent [mission capable rate]?" she said. "There have been a lot of discussions about how to meet readiness goals and still provide long-term readiness for those airframes. That comes to mind immediately.”

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