WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force presented its fiscal year 2016 President’s Budget request Feb. 2, following the Defense Department and sister services budget briefings.
The Air Force fiscal year 2016 budget request supports the defense strategy and combatant commander requirements. It continues readiness recovery, reduces the short-term capacity risk assumed in the fiscal year 2015 budget while placing significant investments in the nuclear enterprise, space, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and command and control capabilities.
This budget strengthens the nation’s defense strategy and Air Force unique capabilities that are in high demand by our combatant commanders, said Maj. Gen. Jim Martin, the Air Force director of budget, who presented the service’s budget request.
“The FY 16 President’s Budget is rooted in necessity, what we need today to begin the recovery from three years of reduced budgets, and is based on long-term strategy.” Martin said.
The Air Force requested a topline budget of $122.2 billion in Air Force controlled funding that continues to protect the KC-46A Pegasus, F-35A Lightning II and the Long Range Strike Bomber, the Air Force’s top modernization priorities, and supports a total force end strength of 492,000 personnel.
The service made adjustments from the fiscal year 2015 Presidential Budget request to respond to global changes, adding back the highest priority combatant command requirements. These adjustments include re-phasing the U-2S divestiture and restoring the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System to add more command and control and ISR, and reduce risk to capacity.
The Air Force is resubmitting its request to phase out the A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet by 2019, to shift limited funding and manpower to higher priority combatant commander needs, such as ISR and C2, as well as advanced multi-role platforms ready for the high end fight. Planned F-15C Eagle divestitures were changed to increase near-term capacity and support the European Reassurance Initiative.
While the fiscal 2016 budget request exceeds funding levels laid out in the Budget Control Act by almost $10 billion, Martin said it is a necessity to recover readiness.
“We are grateful for the modest, short-term budget relief that Congress provided for fiscal years 2014 and 2015,” Martin said. “It was a start to the long process of readiness recovery, but a return to Budget Control Act funding levels will risk our readiness today and our readiness 10 years from now. We need support of our FY 16 budget request to continue readiness recovery and invest in capabilities we will need in the future.”