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 January 23, 2015

News: Yemen chaos threatens U.S. counterterror efforts, including drone programĀ - The White House’s strategy for fighting al-Qaeda in Yemen – repeatedly presented as a model by President Obama – was left in tatters Thursday by the resignation of the man who personally approved U.S. drone strikes in the country and the collapse of its central...
 
 

News Briefs January 23, 2015

NATO detects key Russian military equipment in east Ukraine NATO’s top commander in Europe says the alliance has detected the presence of key Russian military equipment in eastern Ukraine that, in the past, has accompanied large inflows of Russian troops. Gen. Philip Breedlove told a news conference Jan. 22 in Brussels that Russian electronic warfare...
 
 
Boeing photograph

Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft ready for demonstration flights

Boeing photograph The Boeing Maritime Surveillance Aircraft program is ready for customer demonstration flights, having completed the baseline ground and flight testing of the aircraft mission systems. The Boeing Maritime Surve...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Jacqueline Cowan

F135 test demonstrates success of AEDC workshare initiative

Air Force photograph by Jacqueline Cowan Aerospace Testing Alliance Test Engineer Darren Carroll, pictured in front, assists as Pratt & Whitney Test Engineer Ronnie Thomas does a borescope inspection of the fan on the F135 ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald

40 years of Red Flag at Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald A flight of F-15 Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons Aggressors fly in formation over the Nevada Test and Training Ranges June 5, 2008. The proposal for Red Flag came in early...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Navy gears up to order production of 29 aircraft diagnostic systems

Lockheed Martin photograph Petty Officers Third Class Ira Schwartz assigned to Fleet Readiness Center Southeast at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., left, and Devin Riley from Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic at Naval Ai...
 




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>