The Air Force presented to the House Appropriations Committee panel its fiscal 2015 budget request March 12, showing it will take more risk with military construction and military housing and is requesting another round of base realignments and closures.
“In the (fiscal year) 15 President’s budget request, the Air Force attempted to strike the delicate balance of a ready force today and a modern force tomorrow, while also recovering from the impacts of sequestration and adjusting to budget reductions,” said Kathleen Ferguson, the principle deputy assistant secretary performing duties as assistant secretary of the Air Force, installations, environment and logistics.
The budget lays out the $3.3 billion request for military construction, facility sustainment, restoration and modernization, as well as another $328 million for military family housing operations and maintenance.
- $1.8 billion for sustainment
- $547 million for restoration and modernization
- $956 million ($366 million less than fiscal 2014 budget) for military construction across the total force
“The current fiscal environment required the Air Force to make some very tough choices, in order to best support national defense requirements and comply with the defense department’s fiscal guidance and challenges — the Air Force chose capability over capacity,” Ferguson said. “Moving forward, the Air Force seeks to maintain a force ready to meet the full range of military operations while building an Air Force that can maintain its core operations.”
Along with the reductions in funding for fiscal 2015 the Air Force is recognizing it is maintaining infrastructure that exceeds its needs. The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission in 2005 affected 122 installations to include eight minor installations and 63 realignments.
In the past eight years the Air Force has reduced the force structure by more than 500 aircraft and reduced active-duty military and strength by 8 percent. This means there is still excess infrastructure costing the Air Force money it could save if more reductions occurred.
Since the last BRAC round, the Air Force has strived to identify new opportunities and initiatives that enable them to maximize the impact of every dollar they spend, Ferguson said.
“The bottom line is we need another round of BRAC, and we fully support the department of defense request for a future BRAC round,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said, with the strategic choices made during the creation of this budget request, it is an attempt to achieve a balance from the impacts of sequestration and adjusting to budget reductions in the best way possible, while accepting risks in installation support, military construction and facilities sustainment, for the short term.
“We continue to carefully scrutinize every dollar we spend,” Ferguson said.” Our commitment to continued effectiveness, a properly-sized force structure and right-sized installations will enable us to ensure maximum returns on the nation’s investment.”