Thursday July 12, 2012
July 3rd, the United States Air Force addressed allegations of error pertaining to the potential basing of the F-35 with the VT Air National Guard in Burlington. The Air Force validated that Burlington ANGS was scored correctly in 2009, the Air Force’s Strategic Basing Process is working as designed and will provide Air Force senior leaders all relevant data, to include noise issues identified in the Environmental Impact Statement, as they make a final basing decision.
The Air Force has provided the following statements in support of their validation:
Air Force Strategic Basing Process
In Fall 2008, the Secretary of the Air Force directed basing decisions take place at the Headquarters Air Force level and established a strategic basing process to ensure a standardized, transparent and repeatable methodology is used in making basing decisions.
The strategic basing process uses criteria-based analysis to identify locations that are best suited to support any given mission. The results of this analysis inform the basing decisions made by the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
Phase 1: Basing Criteria
Air Combat Command led the effort to develop the F-35A basing criteria. Once approved, the weighted criteria were applied to 205 Air Force bases in an Enterprise-Wide-Look and the results of the criteria application, based on information available at the time the bases were scored, were used by the SecAF and CSAF to develop a list of candidate bases.
The Air Force used the Federal Aviation Administration approved Part 150 Noise Compatibility Program for Burlington Regional Airport. In accordance with FAA land use compatibility guidelines, the NCP identified no incompatible development issues below the 65 decibel Day-Night Average Sound Level noise contours and put noise mitigation measures in place for areas above 65dB DNL contours. Burlington’s NCP was endorsed by the Airport and the City of Burlington in April 2008.
Phase 2: Site Surveys
Once F-35A candidate bases were selected, ACC-led site survey teams conducted detailed on-the-ground evaluations at each candidate location covering a range of operational and infrastructure requirements.
Results of the site surveys were vetted through the strategic basing process and briefed to the SecAF and CSAF who then selected preferred and reasonable alternatives for F-35A basing. During the detailed site surveys, it was identified that there were some residential encroachment and sensitive noise receptors adjacent to the airfield. This information was considered during the selection of preferred and reasonable alternatives.
Phase 3: Environmental Impact Statement
Once the preferred and reasonable alternatives were released in July 2010, the Air Force began the Environmental Impact Statements required by the National Environmental Policy Act.
As part of the ongoing F-35A EIS at Burlington, sophisticated noise modeling produced noise contours for the range of potential F-35A beddown actions at Burlington.
The draft of the final EIS completed the required 45-day public comment period June 20. ACC is now addressing all the comments received, and we expect to complete the final EIS in November 2012 to support a final Record of Decision in late 2012 or early 2013.
The comments received from the local community in regard to this basing action will be presented to the Secretary and Chief as they make their final basing decision and the Air Force is confident the basing process and the resultant final information from the EIS will lead to a well-informed basing decision.”
We are pleased that the United States Air Force has provided a 100% validation of the process that led to Burlington’s selection as a preferred location for the F-35.
As the local United States Air Force representatives at the Burlington Airport, we recognize that there still may be questions or concerns regarding F-35 basing in Burlington and we encourage anyone with a question or concern to call the Vermont Guard directly at (802) 338-3324.
SOURCE: Lloyd Goodrow, VTANG