Air Force

November 15, 2013

CSAF: Air Force must modernize despite budget woes

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service 

WASHINGTON — Budget concerns affect every aspect of the Air Force, but the service must continue to modernize, the service’s chief of staff told the Defense Writers Group here Nov. 12.

In forming the defense strategy, the service chiefs have to take resources into consideration, Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III said.

“To some extent, numbers have always driven strategy,” he added. “A strategy uninformed by resources is not a strategy – it’s a dream. We’ve got to understand the reality of where we are going in order to build a strategy that makes sense for the nation.”

As Joint Chiefs of Staff try to determine what the military can do with the reality of a sequestered budget, the service chiefs’ responsibility is to tell national leaders “what we are capable of doing with the level of resources we think we’re going to have over the next 10 years,” the general said.

Today, the Air Force and the rest of the services are doing this on multiple levels. Planners are looking at three different budgets: the president’s budget request, a midpoint budget and the sequester budget. The service chiefs need to be straightforward about how much money it takes to field a capability, Welsh said, and what capacity is needed to be credible.

“Our job is to make sure everybody understands the military situation clearly,” he said. “Where we would be failing is if we came out of all this and somebody thought we could continue to do all the things we’ve done in the past when we won’t have the capability or capacity. We need to make sure that everyone understands where reality lies. And then we execute. That’s our job.”

The Air Force is a high-tech force, the general told the reporters, so modernization is a requirement. Updating the service’s fighter, aerial refueling and long-range strike bomber fleets are the recapitalization programs the Air Force has to stand behind to be a viable force in the mid-2020s, he said.

Beyond these programs, Welsh added, officials have looked at every other modernization program in the Air Force. If sequestration remains unchanged, the Air Force will have to cut 50 percent of these programs just to be able to afford some level of readiness and to modernize the force, he said.

The general acknowledged that morale of Air Force military and civilian personnel concerns him.

Military morale remains “pretty good,” he said, with some units having a downturn.

“Airmen are still pretty excited about what they do,” Welsh said. “They are very proud of what they do. They want to be the best in the world at what they do. When they can’t be, that’s when we’re going to have a morale problem and they will choose other options, because they’ve got them.”

Leaders must ensure Airmen have the training, the education and the tools they need to be the best at what they do, Welsh said. Still, he added, the force is confused and is concerned about the future.

Welsh said he believes morale is better than people think among the Air Force’s civilian employees, given three years of no pay raises, this year’s furloughs and the recent government shutdown.

“The civilians I’ve talked to told me they could almost understand [the furlough] ? they didn’t like it, but they understood it,” he said. The Air Force lost 8 million manhours to furlough, and it was “a huge deal,” he said.

But the government shutdown took civilians over the top, Welsh said, and Air Force civilians now are worried about job stability and job security. They are also worried that government shutdowns may become the common response from now on if Congress can’t come to an agreement.

“We have a lot of civilians now who are contemplating other career choices,” Welsh said. “That’s not a good thing for the Department of Defense. Our civilian workforce is essential to us; critical. I feel we have to rebuild trust with our civilian workforce, and that’s a horrible situation to be in. We, as a government, let them down last year.”




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler

Red Flag 15-3 wraps up

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 69th Bomb Squadron, Minot Air Force Base, N.D., lands during Red Flag 15-3 at Nellis AFB, Nev., July 21. A typical Red Flag exercise in...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Darin Russell

Ground testing for F-35 gun conducted at Edwards AFB

Lockheed Martin photograph by Darin Russell An F-35A Lightning II, tail number AF-2, fires a burst of rounds down range at the Edwards Gun Harmonizing Range on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., July 17. The F-35 Joint Strike Figh...
 
 

Separated but not alone

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — As the dawn broke out over the mountains, I woke up to the sun peeping through my window. Once I got up I went straight to the kitchen to make my family breakfast yet in the back of my mind, all I could think about was, “how am...
 

 

Mishap prevention 101

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Here is something I would like to share with my readers. This information is geared toward supervisors, but we all play a part in the mishap prevention program, and when we know better, we tend to do better. I will discuss a few things supervisors should do within their...
 
 
raptor

Raptor pilots reach 1,000 flight hours in F-22

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz Majs. Ethan Waitte and Thomas Borrego, 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron pilots, stand with Lt. Col. Matt Allen, 422nd TES F-22 Raptor test director, after returning from ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen

Creech Airmen showcase RPA at Canadian airshow

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen Senior Airman Kaitlyne LaRocque, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron MQ-1 Predator crew chief, left, and Staff Sgt. Craig Stewart, 432nd AMXS MQ-1 crew chief, prepare a...
 




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>