Air Force

June 21, 2013

Welsh: Sequestration continues to drain crucial capabilities from America’s Air Force

Gen. Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, speaks during the Air Force Association breakfast in Arlington, Va., June 17, 2013. Welsh gave comments on where the Air Force is today and where it hopes to be in 2023 and that the Airmen serving today, can and will solve the issues of the Air Force.

The Air Force’s top officer reported on the growing strain sequestration has put on readiness, personnel and modernization to a group of civic and industry leaders attending the Air Force Association’s monthly breakfast in Arlington, Va., June 17.

Sequestration has hit the Air Force hard, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III.

Like the rest of the Defense Department, the Air Force has seen severe reductions in funding, leading to concerns about critical mission factors including the readiness of pilots and aircraft that aren’t flying today.

“We’ve got folks sitting in fighter squadrons looking out of windows at aircraft that they haven’t touched since the first of April,” Welsh said.

Currently, the Air Force has stood down 33 squadrons, 12 of which are combat-coded fighter and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance units. Another seven squadrons have been reduced to a basic mission capable rating.

Even before sequestration, there was a readiness crisis in the Air Force, Welsh said. The severe cutbacks required by the sequester will further downgrade force readiness beyond the current fiscal year if a budget agreement is not reached.

“We can’t just all of a sudden accelerate training and catch up,” he said. “It costs up to 2 1/2 times as much to retrain a squadron as it does to keep it trained.”

Welsh emphasized the Air Force’s efforts to continue to save where possible.

“We’re looking for every option for where you can cut money — every modernization/recapitalization program,” Welsh said.

Regardless of reductions, the service cannot perform its air superiority mission with today’s aging F-15 and F-16 fighters, and limited number of F-22s, the chief of staff said, making the new F-35 non-negotiable.

“When we truncated our F-22 buy, we ended up with a force that can’t provide air superiority in more than one area at a time,” Welsh said. “The F-35 is going to be part of the air superiority equation whether it was intended to be, originally, or not.”

Welsh pointed out other countries will begin flying stealthy, highly-advanced fighters in the coming years, and if the U.S. doesn’t have the aircraft to counter them in a high-end fight it will be in trouble.

There’s nothing else that can do what the F-35 can, he said.

“Out there where people fight and die, for real, if a fourth-generation aircraft meets a fifth-generation aircraft, the fourth-generation aircraft may be more efficient, but it’s also dead,” Welsh said.

 




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best

Losing sleep: CSAF shares what keeps him up at night

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Chrissy Best Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III speaks with 501st Combat Support Wing Airmen during an all call at Royal Air Force Croughton, England, July 16. Welsh explained the...
 
 

Final rule puts more teeth into Military Lending Act

The Defense Department July 21 closed loopholes to protect U.S. men and women in uniform from predatory lending practices, President Barack Obama said this morning at the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The heightened level of financial and consumer-rights protection against unscrupulous practices, called the final rule of the Military...
 
 

Northrop Grumman demonstrates open mission systems architecture across manned, unmanned systems

PALMDALE, Calif.–Northrop Grumman demonstrated in recent test flights that the U.S. Air Force’s Open Mission Systems architecture standards can be successfully integrated across multiple systems and platforms. These flights have paved the way for new capabilities to be integrated rapidly and affordably across advanced manned and unmanned aircraft. In June, at Edwards Air Force Base,...
 

 

AF continues to work with DOD, OPM on cybersecurity incident

The Air Force maintains its commitment to protect personal information from cyber threats by continuing efforts with the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management to assist those impacted by the recent cyber incident involving federal background investigation data. OPM and an interagency response team, including investigators from the FBI and the Department of...
 
 
Untitled-1

New AFMC mission, vision statements emphasize agility

New mission and vision statements are the foundation of a new command strategy designed to push Air Force Materiel Command to be more agile as it delivers war-winning support to the warfighter. The command’s new mission s...
 
 
Comm-CofC

New commander online with 412th Communications Squadron

Air Force photograph by Edward Cannon From left: Col. Eric Leshinsky, 412th Mission Support Group commander, and Lt. Col. J. Scott Fuller pose for a photo as Lt. Col. Christopher Budde looks on. Budde relinquished command of th...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>