The lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz earlier this month, which was signed by 12 senators and congressman.
The letter inquired about information associated with rumors of depot consolidation, according to Steve Petersen, a Bishop staff member who worked on the letter on Bishop’s behalf.
In the letter, the lawmakers voiced concerns about a proposal that may take program management positions from some weapons positions away from depots such as Hill and make them a part of the Air Force Material Command headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
Speaking about the proposal, Hatch said on Friday, “This proposal is penny-wise and pound-foolish. For years, the Air Force has said having engineers and procurement professionals located next to the depot maintainers has achieved great efficiencies and savings. It would be foolish to abandon the practice now for such small short-term gains.
“Besides costing jobs in Utah, it might well set a precedent that could negatively affect other programs such as the F-35,” he continued.
“That’s why I, along with Congressman Bishop and Senator Lee, wrote a letter to the Air Force asking the service to reconsider this proposal. I remain hopeful and have reason to believe the Air Force might heed that advice, but it is important to remain vigilant until the matter is fully resolved.”
Petersen said for the time being Hill will still receive the F-35. “We do not foresee any changes there,” he said.
“It is our understanding that at this time, there are no plans to proceed with consolidation but we continue to monitor this matter.”