CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) — Cannon Air Force Base should survive military budget cuts in better shape than many other bases across the country, according to Curry County Commissioner Caleb Chandler.
Chandler told the Clovis News Journal (http://bit.ly/xEV76v ) that he sees continued growth for the base outside Clovis because its mission fits the new Pentagon philosophy of “smaller but smarter.”
Chandler made the comments Friday after attending a three-day conference with top Air Force officials in Washington. He was appointed to the Air Force Chief of Staff’s civic leader program in December and attended last week.
Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz made it clear that the Pentagon is going to be making big cuts.
But Chandler says special operations forces appear to be set to do much better than the rest of the Air Force. Cannon is home to the 27th Special Operations Wing.
“After all the briefings,” Chandler said Friday, “I sure felt that we were blessed to have special operations at Cannon.”
Air Force public affairs officials said Donley and Schwartz outlined possible Air Force budget cuts to civic leaders from 32 states at the annual winter conference.
“Your Air Force is going to be smaller, but it will not be hollow,” Schwartz said, according to the military. “We will emphasize readiness of the smaller force, and we will emphasize quality.”
Chandler said he believes Cannon is “going to see continued growth over the years.”
“The people at Cannon are some of the best trained folks that we have in the Air Force,” Chandler said. “Because of their high degree of training and the technical abilities they have with the people and equipment, I think Cannon is going to do very well in the future.”
The 27th Wing operates special operations versions of the C-130 transport, the CV-22 Osprey, light transport aircraft and drones.
Base officials said in November that 74 planes are stationed at Cannon, with the number expected to increase to 135 by 2014.