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AIR FORCE ADMITS IT CAN'T JUSTIFY $56 MILLION ORGANIZATIONAL MOVE

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Air Force admitted to Rep. Tony P. Hall (D-Ohio) that it had no reports or studies to justify its claim that a $56.1 million move of testing facilities from Ohio's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base would result in more economical and efficient operations. Still, within the next few days, the Air Force plans to go ahead with the first phase of the move of the 4950th Test Wing by awarding a $14.5 million construction contract at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
 "This move is a complete waste of money. It will actually hamper testing and increase some operating costs," charged Hall, who represents part of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base outside Dayton.
 "This is an attempt by the Air Force to show that it's consolidating test operations. However, it's not consolidation. It's nothing but a very expensive public relations game," Hall added.
 The Air Force confession came in response to a freedom of information request filed by Hall, who asked the Air Force to provide all studies and reports supporting Air Force claims that the move "will achieve more economical and efficient test operations."
 After conducting two searches, the Air Force wrote Hall that it had none.
 "The Air Force has never spelled out the benefits of the move. It has never offered any evidence that the move would improve test operations. It has never explained why it adamantly refuses even to look at alternatives to the move," Hall said.
 An internal Air Force memo cautioned that the move was not "fiscally responsible."
 The 4950th Test Wing maintains "testbed" aircraft that serve as flying laboratories to test aircraft systems and components. It also maintains Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft (ARIA) which relay data during space, missile and satellite launches, including NASA missions.
 Plans call for 868 jobs to be transferred from Ohio to California.
 The cost of the move includes an estimated $33 million for constructing new hangars and other facilities, plus moving expenses.
 According to Hall, the Air Force cost estimate fails to take into account the increased cost of modifying aircraft in preparation for testing, which would still have to be done at Wright-Patterson. The planes will have to be flown between California and Ohio at a cost of thousands of dollars a trip.
 -0- 2/16/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Gessel of the Office of Congressman Tony Hall, 202-225-6465/


CO: ST: District of Columbia, Ohio, California IN: ARO SU:

GK-KW -- NY013 -- 6651 02/16/93 00:01 EST
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Date:Feb 16, 1993
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