BOISE -- Changes could be coming to Gowen Field, but local leaders are hoping to convince the top brass at the Pentagon and the nation's capital that the jobs and aircraft based here in Boise should be spared from proposed defense cuts.
Gov. Butch Otter and a team of Idaho lawmakers met with the Air Force Chief of Staff today. Their goal, to show him the value of Mountain Home Air Force Base and Gowen Field.
The general was candid. There are possibilities going forward, said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.
Gen. Mark Welsh III made a stop in Idaho Friday.
A delegation of Idaho congressmen welcomed Welsh to Idaho and talked about the future of military operations in the state.
He emphasized how no decisions have been made about what's going to happen at Gowen Field, said Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho.
Earlier this year, defense officials announced possible cuts to the military.
Those cuts could include the A-10 Thunderbolt II program at Gowen Field. That's all 22 of the Idaho Air National Guard planes. Officials say 1,000 jobs are currently associated with them.
There's never been a question in my mind that it's going to go away. The question is when, said Otter of the A-10 program.
The governor says the general didn't provide a timeline for when the A-10 program could end, but he did say there s time to make a case for a new guard mission at Gowen Field.
The matter is still in a state of flux. Certainly, we want to have a seat at the table as these decisions are made, said Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho.
After the general s visit, Idaho's delegation believes the state does have a say in what happens next. They plan to put in the work to plead a case for the Idaho Air National Guard and Gowen Field to get a new mission
So we've got a little more time to convince those folks that as good as the A-10 mission was in Idaho, an F-15 mission or an F-35 mission at Gowen Field would also be welcomed with open arms, said Otter.
Lawmakers say they hope the A-10 program will continue until it's replaced.
There's still a lot of questions regarding when that could happen, but Otter says today's meeting gave everyone hope and a little bit of breathing room.