U.S.

December 19, 2013

Budget woes cause AF to refine funding priorities

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Budget battles here are causing tectonic shifts in the Air Force, the service’s leaders said during a Pentagon news conference today.

Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning and Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the Air Force chief of staff, said that even with some relief from sequestration, the service will pay the bills via force structure, modernization and readiness.

How this occurs will affect what the service will look like in 2023, when sequestration ends, they said.

The proposed budget deal making its way through Congress would mitigate some near-term readiness problems, Welsh said, and Air Force leaders will put any money Congress approves beyond sequestration into training and maintenance accounts.

Still, he said, this doesn’t change the long-term picture, noting that sequestration poses a “Sophie’s Choice” dilemma for the Air Force. Does the service choose to keep near-term readiness high at the expense of force modernization, or vice versa? “That’s the balance we’re trying to walk,” Welsh said.

One example of this conundrum is the close-air support mission. The Air Force is studying proposals on how best to carry out this core mission, the general said. One proposal would eliminate the A-10 Thunderbolt II close-air support aircraft — the aircraft Welsh flew as a young pilot.

If money were no object, the A-10 would be a great platform to retain, the general said. But money is tight, he noted, and will be tighter.

“To pay our $12 billion-a-year bill toward sequestration, we have got to find savings in big chunks,” Welsh said. “That’s the problem. And that’s what all these discussions are based on. It’s not about a specific platform. It’s about balancing the mission sets.”

The Air Force ultimately will replace the A-10 with the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, Welsh said. “That plan hasn’t changed.”

The general said other aircraft, F-16s, B-1s and B-52s, provide roughly 75 percent of the close-air support in Afghanistan today. “We have a lot of airplanes that can perform that mission and perform it well,” he said. “Those other aircraft do other things for us.”

Saving money also is important, he said.

“To do that, you have to start talking about fleet divestitures, because you have to get rid of the infrastructure behind the aircraft — the logistics tail, the supply systems, the facilities that do all the logistical support and depot maintenance, et cetera,” he said. “That’s where you create big savings.”

Changing force structure also will change the service, and this is inevitable, Welsh said.

“We will have to draw down people — both the tooth and the tail that comes with that force structure,” he added.

Personnel policies will be used to shape the force, and the service is getting these policies out to Airmen now so they can make informed decisions, Welsh said.

“We’d love to get all this done with voluntary force-shaping measures over a period of time,” he said. “If we … have to take involuntary measures, I would like everyone to have at least six months of time to talk to their family (and) to think about the impact this could have on them.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Things to know about gift cards

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Many gifts exchange hands during the holiday season. One of the most popular, easiest and convenient of gifts is the gift card. Almost every store offers gift cards for their products or services. Gift cards can satisfy even the most particular recipients since they choose what to purchase for themselves. However,...
 
 

Scholarships for Military Children

FORT LEE, Va. – As the Scholarships for Military Children Program enters its 15th year, more than 8,000 students have shared nearly $13 million in scholarships. Applications for the 2015-2016 school-year awards become available starting Dec. 15 at commissaries worldwide or on the Scholarships for Military Children website. As one of last year’s recipients said,...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Airmen, families, friends remember loved ones at Arlington

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) — Nearly 50,000 volunteers came together to place remembrance wreaths on the headstones of about 230,000 veterans during the 23rd Annual National Wreaths Across America Day Dec. 13, at Arlington Nati...
 

 

Eagle flies home: Airman receives a native name

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — The buildings looked the same and the people seemed familiar, but something was different. Maybe it was him. His Native American ties were lost at a young age and now nearly 20 years had passed since he reconnected with his roots. This piece of his life was broken until a naming...
 
 

Commissary Value Brands to return for more savings

FORT LEE, Va. – In response to growing patron demand for products comparable to the low-cost private label items sold in civilian stores, the Defense Commissary Agency is re-energizing an “old friend” known as Commissary Value Brand. Starting in December, commissaries worldwide will highlight about 300 Value Brand products in 33 categories such as frozen...
 
 

“Aiming High” and getting high not compatible for civilian, AF members

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah, — Voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C., recently joined Colorado in legalizing the possession and use of marijuana. Apart from Oregon, each area has large Air Force populations. Leaders say it’s important for military and civilian Airmen to remember that while American voters’ attitudes are shifting toward loosening restrictions on marijuana,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin