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Transparency provision sought in Air Force divestment at Seymour Johnson

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(The Center Square) – Calling the elimination of an entire squadron and 520 jobs at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base unacceptable, U.S. Rep. Don Davis is steadfast alongside U.S. Sen. Ted Budd as leaders in Congress fighting to stop the change.

Davis, an Air Force veteran from Snow Hill just a few miles away from the base in Goldsboro, authored a provision that prevents an F-15E combat squadron from being divested. It’s in House Resolution 8070, the base bill for the National Defense Authorization Act in fiscal year 2025.

“We aren’t standing idly by as the proposed 520-job cut at Seymour Johnson threatens to damage eastern North Carolina’s economy,” Davis said in a release Tuesday. “I will continue fighting fiercely to keep all four squadrons in Wayne County and ensure economic stability in the East. Safeguarding our national security and preserving these jobs are not mutually exclusive, and the Air Force must be honest about that.”

Davis’ provision would require the Secretary of the Air Force in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense to “enter into contracts and report on the risks involved in divesting F-15E aircraft. Following submission, there will be a 180-day wait period before any divestment occurs,” the Tuesday afternoon release says.

Davis said, “This provision will require the Air Force to be more transparent and accountable to the people of Wayne County and to Congress.”

Davis, a freshman Democrat, has been roundly praised for bipartisan efforts. Budd, junior Republican senator for the state, a month ago voiced concerns during an exchange in his chamber with Gen. Charles C.Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the course of conversation, Brown confirmed the senator’s line of query on F-15E Strike Eagles being in many ways “unmatched air to ground” and “air to air.”

Davis is a member of the Committee on Armed Services, and two subcommittees of it on Military Personnel and Readiness. Budd is a member of the Committee on Armed Services, and three subcommittees within it: Cybersecurity, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, and Personnel.

Davis toured the base on Nov. 20. On March 13, he gave a floor speech in the House about the proposed changes. On April 2, he sent a letter to President Joe Biden, and on April 17 he questioned the Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, a West Point graduate and retired lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves.