The 354th Fighter Squadron here resumed flying operations July 16 after being put in a stand down for approximately three months due to sequestration.
The 354th FS was one of several units under Air Combat Command that had to stop, or curtail, its flying operations after returning from a deployment. This was done to ensure that remaining units supporting worldwide operations could maintain sufficient readiness through the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013.
However, Congressional action on the $1.8 billion overseas contingency operations reprogramming action made peacetime dollars available. The Air Force Council has approved the use of $423 million of those dollars to restore flying hours for affected units.
This not only affects Combat Air Forces units assigned to ACC, but also units assigned to United States Air Forces Europe and Pacific Air Forces.
With this decision, combat-coded CAF units are being provided with the necessary flight hours required to provide for the nation’s defense.
The reinstatement of flying hours does not fully restore combat capability, and budget uncertainty continues to make it difficult to predict whether a healthy flying hour program will be sustained in FY14 and beyond.
Though the resumption of flying for units in the CAF represents the Air Force’s commitment to current combat readiness, safety is still a priority to leadership from the major command level down to the wing.