Feb 5 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) issued the following statements in response to a letter from leaders of the Air Force and Army certifying the deactivation of the 440th Airlift Wing at Fort Bragg’s Pope Airfield:

“I am surprised and deeply disappointed with the Army's decision to acquiesce to the Air Force's strategy for how they will complete training at Fort Bragg,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “Now the burden is on the Fort Bragg commanders to demonstrate to Congress and the Fayetteville community that they have not jeopardized the needs of the Global Response Force to placate the reckless desires of budget cutters in the Pentagon. In my discussions with the former commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps and soldiers and airmen at Fort Bragg, they say it makes no sense, will negatively affect their flexibility, and will likely threaten their ability to provide the training needed to complete their mission. The fact that I received this update not from the Air Force, but from third parties, further undermines my confidence in this decision and galvanizes my commitment to holding the parties accountable. For as long as I am a U.S. Senator, the Air Force can fully expect me to require that they demonstrate, on a monthly basis, how they are meeting their obligation to provide assets at Pope Airfield and fulfilling the training requirements of our brave men and women.”

“This is the latest in a series of decisions that could very well prevent our armed forces from being as prepared as they should be,” said Senator Richard Burr. “The 82nd Airborne is our global response force, often deployed to hot spots like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. The Special Operations units that call Fort Bragg home require dedicated air support to properly train for the missions that America and our allies calls on them to perform. I’m concerned that this is going to negatively impact national security and decrease the readiness of combat units at Fort Bragg that are essential in the current fight against terrorism. We are depriving them of an important asset that they have relied on for decades and now is not the time to remove important resources from our troops.”