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A-10C Thunderbolt IIs taxi at Clark AB, Philippines, April 21, 2016. A Congressional budget proposal would limit the Air Force's ability to retire or store A-10s. Air Force photo by Capt. Susan Harrington.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee on Monday released his proposal for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2017, which includes a provision that would prohibit A-10s from being retired or placed in storage during the fiscal year. The A-10 provision also would require the Air Force to keep at least 171 A-10s in the primary mission aircraft inventory, and would block the Secretary of the Air Force from reducing A-10 manning levels until after F-35 initial operational test and evaluation results are submitted to Congress. Rep. Mac Thornberry's (R-Texas) proposal also increases Air Force depot maintenance funding, funds an increase in Active Duty Air Force end strength to 321,000, pays for 48 F-35As in Fiscal 2017 instead of the 43 included in the president's version of the budget, and maintains support for a minimum of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan. The proposal also supports a 2.1 percent pay raise for troops.  Thornberry previewed the bill at a defense writers breakfast in Washington on April 21. (Read a summary of Thornberry's bill here)