Jul 13 2015

News of the planned inactivation prompted North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., to write to Air Force Secretary Debra Lee James Defense and Defense Secretary Ash Carter, demanding an explanation.

"Prior to his confirmation vote, I had a lengthy discussion with Secretary of Defense Carter about the future of the 440th Airlift Wing at Pope Army Airfield," Tillis wrote. "I also raised the issue publicly with Secretary Carter during his hearing. He publicly committed to look into the matter and sit down and discuss the 440th's future with me.With that in mind I am distressed that in spite of Secretary Carter's commitment, the Air Force leadership is proceeding to this matter before he has even had time to fulfill his public assurance."

Tillis' letter continued: "The removal of the 440th AW at Pope Army Airfield creates unreasonable risks to the readiness of these critical airborne units, many of which must be prepared to respond to a range of contingencies on short notice. Moreover, the anticipated deactivation of the 440th AW would come at a time when the nation is facing growing uncertainty abroad that could require a military response-a response that only forces at Fort Bragg can provide."

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