Air Force

September 20, 2013

Acting Air Force secretary describes budget choices

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Air Force may have to “cut vertically” in fiscal 2014 to achieve the savings needed under sequestration, the service’s acting secretary said here today. 

Everything is on the table, Eric Fanning said in a media roundtable at the Air Force Association’s annual meeting.

He would not confirm reports that the Air Force is looking at eliminating the A-10 Thunderbolt II air-to-ground fighter and the KC-10 Extender refueling tanker, but said officials are “looking most closely at single-mission fleets.”

Cuts to the budget in fiscal 2014 mean no ramp for the services – they will not enter these spending cuts gradually, the acting secretary said.

“If we go into fiscal 2014 with sequestration still in effect, you need to achieve those savings that quickly,” he said. “You have to look at vertical cuts.”

The Air Force cannot save money out of installations, because Congress will not support another round of base realignments and closures, Fanning said. And even personnel cuts wouldn’t provide immediate relief, he added.

“You can’t get money out of people fast enough – it takes about a year to get savings out of personnel,” he said.

Fencing off priority programs puts a lot of pressure on the wedge of the budget pie that’s left, Fanning said.

“You can see what some of the programs are we might be after, but you can’t get savings of the magnitude necessary by reducing all your fleets,” he said. “You have to take out some of the fleets entirely in order to get the whole tail that would come with it.”

The fiscal 2015 budget is in turmoil. The Air Force – along with all of DOD – is formulating two separate budgets: one with a sequestration topline and one based on the president’s budget request.

“We are constantly balancing modernization versus recapitalization – near-term risk vs. far-term risk,” Fanning said.

All Air Force officials fully realize there are near-term commitments that are imperative.

“We are still at war,” Fanning said. “We are still required to go when contingencies arise. There is no greater commitment we have than to support the men and women being sent into harm’s way now.”
But manning and equipping the force of the future also is important, Fanning said. In a speech this morning, he said the Air Force needs to ask the right questions to identify the game-changers of the future.

No one really knows what technologies or capabilities will change warfare in the future, he said, but the Air Force must “keep looking for it and investing in it so you are adaptable and agile and better positioned to adjust to whatever that is ahead of your adversary. If you are not asking the question, you are not focused in the right direction.”

Over the past four years, the Air Force has been doing not only an annual budget, but also multiple budgets, conducting efficiency drills and “driving all of our thinking and processes into this ever-tightening ‘do loop’ that takes the eye of people off of over-the-horizon thinking,” Fanning said.
In a time of drawdown, officials have to set up and enforce priorities, he said.

“But you need a budget baseline to build off of those priorities and look over the horizon,” Fanning said. “If we ask the right question, the Air Force … is going to be in a dynamic place 10, 15, 20 years in the future.”




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis

Red Flag offers B-52 crews training that ‘can’t be beat’

U.S. Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 69th Bomb Squadon, Minot Air Force Base, N.D., taxis for take off during Red Flag 15-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 15. T...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle

‘Thunder’ rolls at Fort Irwin

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Airmen assigned to the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., look on as an A-10 Thunderbolt II departs from the National Training Center at Fort I...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd

Hill activates their first F-35 fighter squadron

U.S. Air Force photo by Alex R. Lloyd Lt. Col. George R. Watkins addresses the audience and squadron members during the 34th Fighter Squadron activation ceremony July 17 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The 34th FS will be the fir...
 

 

Nellis celebrates successful Vacation Bible School

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The Nellis Chapel has done it again with the 18th and best year of Vacation Bible School ever. This year’s theme of Science, provided by Gospel Light’s Son Sparks Labs, proved to be engaging and fun for all 192 children and volunteers. Discovering the light of God in a...
 
 

The unseen leader

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — Over the years, I’ve seen many leaders come and go. The ones I admired, I took note of the traits I wished I had, as well as the ones I already possessed. It took me a long time to realize some of my personal and professional weaknesses were...
 
 

Donald Rumsfeld visits Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz Former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld interacts with a service member during a book signing and meet-and-greet at the Base Exchange, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 16, 2015. Rumsfeld is the youngest and oldest individual ever to sit in the Defense Secretary position,...
 




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>