The Air Force presented its fiscal year 2018 president’s budget request May 23, 2017, following the Defense Department and sister services’ budget briefings.
Maj. Gen. Jim Martin, the Air Force budget director, said the request supports the Secretary of Defense’s commitment to strengthening the U.S. military by improving warfighting readiness and addressing critical shortfalls while building a larger, more capable and more lethal joint force.
The Air Force requested a top-line budget of $132.4 billion in Air Force-controlled funding that invests primarily in Airmen, readiness, nuclear deterrence operations, space and cyber capabilities, combat Air Forces and infrastructure.
This budget serves as a step forward in the Air Force’s readiness recovery. Martin said recovery will take years, and success requires relief of Budget Control Act caps coupled with predictable, sufficient and flexible budgets.
The budget supports a Total Force end-strength of 502,000 personnel, increasing the active force by 4,100 and the Guard and Reserves by 1,700.
For the Total Force, the budget supports:
– A 2.1 percent pay raise for active-duty Airmen and a 1.9 percent pay raise for civilian personnel.
– The addition of approximately 200 recruiters while sustaining more basic and technical training instructors who will support more than 29,000 enlisted accessions.
– Increasing pilot training capacity and adjusting their incentive pay structure.
– Increasing maintenance manpower and experience.
– Reducing gaps in critical skill areas such as nuclear, cyber, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and the remotely piloted aircraft communities.
– Adding more than 200 military and 961 civilian personnel to support the chief of staff of the Air Force priority to reinvigorate squadrons and improve commander support staff manning across the Air Force, alleviating Airmen from administrative duties and increasing overall readiness.
In readiness, the budget funds:
– Flying hours to executable levels and weapons system sustainment to near capacity.
– Two additional F-16 training squadrons and ensures advance weapons schools and combat exercises are fully funded to restore full-spectrum readiness long term.
– 60 RPA combat lines.
– The Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program.
– The National Space Defense Center.
– 39 cyber teams and training for cyber Airmen. Top modernization programs.
– The space procurement strategy.
– The nuclear enterprise.
– Munitions to support ongoing operations.
– Replenishing current inventories.
Delaying modernization has become a trend in recent years, allowing potential adversaries to narrow the capability gap. This budget addresses modernization by:
– Advancing recapitalization of the current fighter and tanker fleets by procuring 46 F-35A Lightning and 15 KC-46 Pegasus aircraft.
– Continuing modernization efforts for our 4th and 5th generation aircraft.
– Continuing efforts from fiscal 2017 to maximize munition production capacity to sustain global precision attack capabilities.
The fiscal 2018 Air Force space investment budget request addresses the development of resilient capabilities and architectures to negate or defeat threats. The budget supports funding the Space-Based Infrared System, Space Modernization Initiative, Tech Maturation and Cyber Security, modernization of protected satellite communications and development and fielding of space battle management command and control. The request also funds three evolved expendable launch vehicle launch services, which are competitive launch opportunities.
The research, development, test and evaluation investments saw notable growth this year and are designed to pay significant future dividends through game-changing technologies that, when fielded, will increase lethality and provide the joint force a technological advantage.
To ensure the service’s nuclear forces remain capable and credible, this budget provides funding for future nuclear capabilities with significant increases to the long range standoff weapon and ground based strategic deterrent, to include ICBM guidance, propulsion, security and command and control applications.
The proposal also invests further in the adaptive engine transition program, which will deliver revolutionary, next-generation propulsion systems for multiple combat aircraft applications. It develops the fleet of tomorrow by ramping up funding for the next generation bomber, maintains commitment to the next generation flight trainer for future Air Force pilots and continues development for the combat rescue helicopter.
“The demand for current and future air and space power exceeds supply,” Martin said. “The Air Force’s fiscal 2018 budget is our best attempt to apply our limited resources to build a more capable and lethal force. One that is ready today, and one that is ready tomorrow.”
For more information about the Air Force’s fiscal 2018 budget request, visit http://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/budget/.