Lesko, Gallego secure amendment requiring notice before F-35 transfers
PHOENIX — Two Arizona lawmakers have secured an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act that requires the federal government to give notice before transferring F-35 squadrons.
U.S. Rep. Lesko said she felt the amendment was “necessary” following a recent delay in the arrival of six F-35 squadrons to Luke Air Force Base. She represents District 8, where the base is located.
The amendment pushed by Lesko and Rep. Ruben Gallego requires the Air Force to give 6 months’ notice to congressional defense committees and members of Congress who represent impacted bases before any F-35 transfers.
Lesko said in May that the expected delivery to Luke was delayed from summer 2022 to winter 2023.
Sen. Martha McSally said at the time that she was “disappointed” by the Air Force’s decision to delay the delivery.
The amendment also requires the creation of a comprehensive plan and report on the strategy before a transfer is made.
“As members of Congress, we must ensure our national security is always a top priority,” Lesko said in a statement.
“Any decisions by the Air Force to transfer F-35 squadrons from one base to another must be highly thought out so that we retain the capability to train against an advanced adversary and to ensure we are prepared for any potential conflicts against a modern enemy.”
Luke, about 20 miles northwest of Phoenix, is one of two bases where the Air Force trains pilots from around the world.