|Maj. Gen. James Post |
(photo: U.S. Air Force)
Maj. Gen. James Post made the remarks in reference to the A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack plane. The plane is a unique weapon in the Air Force inventory. Unlike the still-unproven sophisticated aircraft such as the F-35 that are about to come on line, the A-10 is decidedly low technology. The plane can’t even break the sound barrier. It’s basically a cannon surrounded by an airframe, with enough armor to protect its pilot on low ground-attack missions.
The Air Force is trying to retire its A-10 fleet, even as the planes are currently being used in the campaign against ISIS. The effort to take the A-10s out of service has met with strong opposition from airmen and from many members of Congress. In response to some members of the Air Force providing Congress with information about the plane, Post, speaking at the Air Force’s annual Weapons and Tactics conference, said, “[a]nyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason,” according to Tony Carr at the blog John Q. Public. Post prefaced that remark by saying: “if anyone accuses me of saying this, I will deny it.”
Instead of chastising Post, the Air Force issued a vague statement addressing his comments. “The intent of his comments [was] to communicate the Air Force’s position and decision on recommended actions and strategic choices faced for the current constrained fiscal environment.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), whose husband flew the A-10 in Iraq, blasted Post’s charge. “U.S. law clearly states that ‘No person may restrict a member of the armed forces in communicating with a member of Congress.’ The Constitution defines treason as levying war against the United States in providing aid and comfort to our enemies,” Ayotte said in the statement. “How could members of the armed forces exercising their lawful right to communicate with Congress be providing aid and comfort to our enemies? If the facts are on the Air Force’s side regarding its efforts to prematurely divest the A-10, what does the Air Force fear?”
The A-10’s mission is supposed to be taken over by the F-35, but that plane has had teething problems and the first versions, with downgraded software, won’t be operational until next year.