“It is a direct link to our national security,” the one-star general said of the work at Wright-Patterson.
The Wright-Patt-based directorate works with foreign allies to help them with their security needs and that assistance can be of “mutual benefit,” Bruckbauer said.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Brian Bruckbauer
“We use a variety of tools in the toolbox, if you will, to work with partners,” he said.
The directorate’s workforce at Wright-Patterson and elsewhere has invested a “substantial” amount of work into the possible deal with the Philippines — advancing the transaction to this point in about 150 days.
The sale has not been approved by Congress or by the Philippines yet.
“We’re waiting for that congressional approval,” the commander said. “Sometimes we see these approvals come in 30 days or so. Other times, there may be an extended time these stay in Congress because they want to discuss whether this is truly in the international interest.”
He declined to predict if or when Congress would approve the sale, but he said: “I expect we’ll hear something shortly.”
In his recent remarks, Blinken reiterated a mutual defense pact with the Philippines, warning China that an attack on Philippine armed forces in the South China Sea would trigger a 1951 U.S.-Philippines mutual defense treaty. President Donald Trump last year also rejected China’s claims to resources in areas of the South China Sea.
The Philippines are not the first country to want to buy F-16s, Bruckbauer noted. These jets would be brand new block 70 F-16s. In fact, Lockheed Martin has set up a separate production line in Greenville, S.C. to produce jets for foreign allies, the general said.
“If it weren’t for some of those foreign sales, our defense industrial base would take a pretty significant hit, " he said.
Asked about the possibility of future foreign military sales, he said: “Oh yeah. The pipeline is full of them.”