On Friday, Air Force officials made the announcement that they have removed a two-star general from his position because he warned junior officers that they would be committing “treason” if they spoke to members of Congress about the VA-10 “Warthog” attack jet.
Air Force Maj. Gen. James Post III, a vice commander at Air Combat Command, was under investigation for remarks he made in January, when he allegedly told approximately 300 airmen not to speak to Congress about the Air Force’s attempts to retire the A-10.
General Post stressed “loyalty to senior leader decisions,” and also used the word “treason” when describing any potential communication by airmen to an outside party that may oppose those positions.
According to the USA Today, the investigation determined that the general’s words had a “chilling effect” on the speech of those airmen and their legal right to convey their concerns to Congress.
Air Combat Command said that Post’s “choice of words had the effect of attempting to prevent some members from lawfully communicating with Congress, which is a violation of the US code and Department of Defense directives, whether that was his intention or not.”
It is an open secret that the Air Force wants to retire the A-10 and use the more than $4 billion savings to instead fund the F-35 fighter.
Supporters of the switch say the A-10 is primarily used for close-air support of ground troops, while the F-35 can be used for multiple tasks, including close-air support.
On the other hand, supporters of the A-10 say that because it was specifically designed for its role, it does its job better and more cost-effectively than the F-35.
Air Combat Command Commander Gen. Hawk Carlisle consulted with his staff judge advocate and made the decision to fire Post. As quoted in The Hill, General Carlisle said “General Post understands the impact of his actions and has expressed his sincere regret to me, a regret he extends to all airmen.” Post was issued a formal letter of reprimand.
Post, in a statement released by the Air Force, said, “The objective of my comment was simply meant to focus the attention of the audience on working within the command’s constraints. It was sincerely never my intention to discourage anyone’s access to their elected officials.”
Sen. John McCain, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee and an ardent supporter of the A-10, initiated the investigation into Post’s remarks. According to his spokesman, Sen. McCain believes that the Air Force made the correct decision to relieve Post.