U.S. Air Force officials say they are fully complying with the law in
hosting elements of the German air force at
Holloman Air Force
Base in New Mexico, and that the decision to allow for the training and hosting of foreign military forces dates back to World War II, according to an Air Force official.
Sigmund Adams, an Air Force spokesman contacted about a
lawsuit against the service filed in 1998 by the New Mexico-based
Foundation, told WorldNetDaily the authority for hosting and training Luftwaffe aircrews at Holloman lies with “federal law,” and specifically “the Arms Export Control Act.”
Adams said the law “provides for certain training such as that currently conducted by and proposed for the German air force at Holloman AFB.”
|Two Luftwaffe Tornado fighter-bombers stationed at Holloman AFB flying in formation.|
According to Adams, the existing Luftwaffe operations at the base — which include 12 German Tornado fighter-bombers and aircrews, as well as others that have been proposed — “are based on policy decisions made by top government leaders of both countries.” Almost immediately after World War II, the U.S. “established a policy of providing training in specific areas to military personnel from countries allied with the United States, particularly from NATO allies,” Adams said.
In the late 1980s, discussions opened regarding the placement of an initial German Luftwaffe Tornado training unit in the U.S. Then, in November 1990, Adams said the Bush administration made a formal proposal to then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl “to locate a German air force training unit in the U.S.,” a move Adams claimed was within the power of the president to make.
“The first 12 … aircraft were relocated to Holloman AFB in 1996 as a result of the agreement” between both nations, he said, “and the expansion of German air force operations at Holloman reflect further agreements between the two countries.”
Regarding any illegality or culpability in hosting Luftwaffe units, Adams said U.S. Air Force officials believe they have complied with all applicable laws.
“The Air Force works closely with federal and state agencies and local landowners to ensure to the maximum extent practicable that proposed Air Force activities are compatible with local land issues such as grazing and recreation,” Adams told WorldNetDaily.
In fact, he added, “Holloman has been recognized at local and national levels for outstanding environmental management,” something Pentagon and Air Force officials believe “can be accomplished hand-in-hand with the military mission.”
Adams dismissed U.S. District Judge Bruce D. Black’s May 1 ruling allowing Paragon attorneys to depose U.S. State Department and Air Force officials in court.
“Such depositions are allowed under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” he said.
Meanwhile, Paragon officials maintain the Luftwaffe is flying in the U.S. illegally. The group’s lawsuit charges the deployment “may prove to have been unauthorized from the start because the secretary of state and Congress did not approve them.”
The suit, filed by a local New Mexico rancher and financed primarily by Paragon, also seeks to block construction of a target complex and low-level flights on Otero Mesa in southeast New Mexico and west Texas.
A year after the suit was filed, two German Tornado fighters collided in midair
New Mexico crash report kept secret outside Carlsbad, N.M., barely missing the Marathon Indian Basin Gas Processing Plant and a local ranch.
The resulting crash investigation was conducted entirely by German air force personnel, and its findings have not been made available to the American public, even after a memorandum passed in the New Mexico Senate demanding details of the crash and German operational and investigative procedures.
|Three F-117A Stealth fighters departing Holloman AFB for NATO air bases in Aviano, Italy.|
National security is also a concern of some critics of the Luftwaffe deployment. The U.S. Air Force stations squadrons of secretive F-117A Stealth fighters at Holloman, and after concerns about espionage from a number of countries — even some allies, like Israel — critics are increasingly wary of foreign military and diplomatic nationals serving in sensitive posts in the United States.