Defense

May 29, 2013

SecAF: Sequestration hits AF readiness, modernization

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III field questions from members of the Pentagon press corps at the Pentagon, May 24, 2013. During the press briefing, Donley and Welsh addressed the force structure, readiness and modernization challenges the Air Force is facing in the current fiscal environment.

Sequestration has hit the Air Force particularly hard, impacting its force structure, readiness and modernization, senior Air Force leaders said May 23.

Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley and Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the chief of staff, said Congress must provide a solid budget number so the Air Force can ground its planning in reality.

The Air Force understands it must do its part to work through the debt and deficit reduction problem, Welsh said.

“We just want to get to the bottom line or the new top-line budget … and get on with preparing our Air Force to remain the best in the world,” he said.

Sequestration has hit the Air Force hard and the effects are felt throughout the full range of accounts from force structure to readiness to modernization, Donley said during his last scheduled news conference as secretary.

On April 26, Donley announced plans to step down June 21 as the Air Force’s top civilian after serving as secretary for nearly five years.

“Twelve combat-coded squadrons have stopped flying, and important training has been canceled,” Donley said. “Weapon system sustainment reductions will delay maintenance, increase costs and create backlogs. The impending civilian furlough will hamper us further and will impact morale and reduce productivity across the Air Force.”

Even before sequestration there was a readiness crisis in the Air Force, the secretary said. “The readiness hole that we have been trying to dig out of just got deeper, and we are facing a readiness crisis from which it will take many months to recover,” he said.

And it is not just operations and readiness accounts that are at risk, said Donley, noting the Air Force needs modernization – in aircraft, missiles, and capabilities.

“As advanced technologies proliferate around the globe, these cutbacks in modernization would put at risk the Air Force capabilities this nation will need in the decades ahead,” Donley said. “Despite our near-term and long-term concerns, we are working to ensure that our most significant Air Force priorities remain on track, including the fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the KC-46 tanker, and the long-range strike bomber.”

Aircraft must support the warfighters, but budget cuts mean that airmen cannot train for full spectrum operations, Welsh said.

“And our readiness continues to decline, even while calls for potential no-fly zone or air policing operations in response to Syrian violence are reaching a new crescendo,” he said.

“We’re still the best Air Force in the world,” Welsh said. “And our great airmen will rely on experience and their unmatched dedication to succeed in any operation that we’re asked to execute. But atrophied skills elevate risk, and stagnant proficiency will only grow over time if we can’t restore some sense of budget normalcy. And so that’s what we’re hoping for.

 




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


 
 

 

Headlines March 4, 2015

News: Pentagon: Another BRAC will save money - Pentagon planners have a new pitch to lawmakers skeptical of a fresh round of base closings: We promise we’ll save money this time.   Business: China’s new C919 will begin test flights this year - China’s new superjet will take to the skies for the first time later this...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jensen Stidham

World War II pilot reunited with P-47

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jensen Stidham Retired Air National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Robert Hertel, laughs while under the wing of a P-47 Thunderbolt during the Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course Feb. 2...
 
 

News Briefs March 4, 2015

General: 8,500 Islamic State fighters killed in Iraq so far The U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq has killed more than 8,500 Islamic State fighters since its bombing campaign began in August, the top general overseeing the coalition said March 3. Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of U.S. Central Command, said the Islamic State, which...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Turning up the heat

Lockheed Martin photograph Lockheed Martin ATHENA laser weapon system defeats a truck target by disabling the engine, demonstrating its military effectiveness against enemy ground vehicles. Latest evolution of Lockheed Martin l...
 
 

USO Visit

Air Force photograph by Jet Fabara Actor Vince Vaughn speaks with Edwards Airmen and 412th Security Forces Squadron members at the base library before introducing an advance screening of his new movie, “Unfinished Business,” at the base theater Feb. 28.
 
 

Sikorsky S-97 RAIDERô team begins final assembly of second aircraft

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., announced March 4 the start of final assembly of the second S-97 RAIDERô helicopter at the company’s Development Flight Center. Along with a team of industry suppliers, Sikorsky is developing two RAIDERô prototypes to demonstrate the revolutionary new capabilities in improved maneuverability and flight speed. The...
 




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>