Warbird Community Bands Together to Prevent Future Demilitarization Threats
November 19, 2003 - EAA and EAA Warbirds of America (WOA) led a strategy session on Capitol Hill with Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and key members of his staff to discuss recurring demilitarization proposals and develop a strategy to ensure that historic warbirds would not be threatened by future legislation. Joining EAA and WOA in the session were representatives from the Classic Jet Aircraft Association (CJAA), Commemorative Air Force (CAF), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), and the National Association of Aircraft and Communications Suppliers, Inc.
Over the past several years, numerous efforts have been launched by the Department of Defense to broaden their legal powers to reclaim former military hardware from civilian hands for the purposes of demilitarizing (often destroying) certain artifacts. Ostensibly the effort was intended to give DoD the ability to take back items that should not have been released into civilian hands in the first place. While warbirds, their parts, and supplies were not specifically targeted by DoD, the previously proposed legislative language always left the door open for confiscation, and even destruction, of historic and valuable military aircraft.
With the help of friends in Congress like Sen. Inhofe, military aircraft enthusiasts have been successful in fighting such attempts in each of the last few defense appropriations cycles. But the effort is costly and not always assured of a positive outcome. At Tuesday’s meeting on Capitol Hill, aviation representatives discussed language that could be inserted into upcoming appropriations bills that would prevent de-militarization efforts from unduly impacting existing and future properly disarmed military aircraft.
This meeting demonstrated excellent cooperation between the participating industry representatives ensuring that a unified position is presented to Congress by the warbird and aviation enthusiast communities for the protection of America’s military aviation heritage.