“I wish they’d bring you to the floor today. I’d vote for you to be confirmed.”
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) questioned Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General David Allvin during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Armed Services. Coach Tuberville focused his questions on military readiness against the growing threat of Communist China.
Read Senator Tuberville’s exchange with General David Allvin below or watch here.
Sen. Tuberville: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, Thanks for being here and congratulations. You and your family had a great talk the other day and you’ll do an outstanding job. I had a chance over, and I told you this, over the last month to go down to the War College and see General Andrea Tullos, who does an outstanding job. She allowed me to speak to all fifteen hundred colonels and majors, and that was a treat. What leaders we got in this country that was awesome. We also discussed politics and hopefully when you take this position over, you’ll do your job and stay out of politics, leave that to Secretary Kendall. One thing that has concerned me since I’ve been here for three years and even before that, we decided to build a new tanker and we still are not in rapid deployment of that. And it kind of concerns me that we just can’t overcome problems like that within this committee. But that being said politics continues to take over. One thing I wanna talk about is I’ve had several calls over the last six, seven months from generals in the air force. In recent years, our sorties have decreased to one point five a month and Chinese have increased theirs to around four a month. Now, being from a coaching background, I know practices makes perfect. What’s your thoughts about that? We’ve got to be ready to fight and one point five sorties a month doesn’t sound like a whole lot to me. And you’d know more than me.
General Allvin: Well Senator, reps and sets. That is important. And so ensuring our readiness be able to meet the challenges, certainly one of our priorities. One of the challenges that we have along with that is with our flying hours program, which is you don’t have flying hours, you can’t put the pilots in the cockpits. The challenge is we continue to have these legacy systems, so we only have so many dollars to spread across. And when you have reduced aircraft availability rates because they’re old, and they’re finding new and interesting ways to break, and they break for longer periods of time, and they stay in depots for longer periods of time, that removes them from the ability to be able to be flown. So that’s one of the challenges that we have. Also with some of the maintainers that we want to maintain these new aircraft; we need those Wiley KG maintainers to keep fixing the old one. So some of that skill set that we’re looking for seasoned maintainers to transition to some of these fifth generation platforms have not been available to us. And as they say, you want a ten year maintainer, it takes ten years to build that. So if we can’t have access to those because they’re still maintaining the legacy platforms, and also those legacy platforms have supply chain issues, all those sort of things that make it just less efficient. Which is another reason as we are looking to manage the readiness of today and the readiness of tomorrow, that we have that challenge to be able to meet meet the needs while still being able to advance to the modernization that we need.
Sen. Tuberville: So you’re saying this is not a policy, this is a cost problem, an airplane problem, maintenance problem. This is not a policy that we have to cut back to one point five sorties a month. Are you saying that?
General Allvin: Senator, what I would say is where policy could help is as we try and pursue our modernization strategy, if we could have less restrictive language that will allow us to to move that along, we will continue to try and manage best the risk of maintaining the current legacy platforms and moving into the new platforms.
Sen. Tuberville: So you being in the Air Force and and being around it for a long time, how many sorties do we need a month to really be prepared to fight somebody like China?
General Allvin: Senator, there’s a great phrase in the weapons school that says “it depends.” And I know that’s not a satisfying answer, but if I could maybe talk about what it may depend on. We have revalidated throughout our Air Force over the past eighteen months. We have revalidated what we call our mission essential tasks. Moving from twenty, thirty years of counter VEO fights, understanding the nature of the environment in which we’re gonna need to fight in the future, we’ve revalidated those tasks. Understanding how what we do on those tasks tells us how many sorties we’re gonna need. We’re also moving into a world where – when I was flying, if you’re in a simulator, you weren’t getting that much training. You need to actually be flying. The advancement of the synthetic environment and the ability to work in some of the key mission areas without actually being in the cockpit, changes that equation as well. So I would say – I do believe we could fly more and be better. But to give you a precise amount, I think would be probably folly because there are other elements with respect to mixing with the live virtual construction environment, that will help offset the need for pure airborne flying.
Sen. Tuberville: Yes, there’s nothing like actual experience. And I think you’d agree with me on that. And I just hope that we’re ready and willing and ready to go. I don’t know the difference in the airplanes. I’m sure there’s a different sorties in terms of the F-35 and all the different versions we have. But again, thank you for what you do. I wish they’d bring you to the floor today. I’d vote for you to be confirmed. Hopefully, that happens in the near future. Thank you very much.
General Allvin is currently the Vice Chief of Staff for the Air Force. He is awaiting confirmation to become Chief of Staff for the Air Force. Gen. Allvin is one of the nominees affected by Sen. Tuberville’s holds as a result of President Biden’s illegal taxpayer-funded abortion policy. Sen. Tuberville has repeatedly urged Sen. Schumer to either bring promotions, like Gen. Allvin’s, to the floor or to get DoD to drop the illegal policy.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.