Engage

Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Twitter
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
Logo
Facebook
2,116,573
Like Us
Twitter
449,258
Follow Us
YouTube Google+ Blog RSS Instagram

AF undersecretary: Budget uncertainty worries Airmen

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

Airmen are worried about budgetary uncertainty, and service leaders pledge to be transparent about priorities and programs available as the service moves forward, Air Force Undersecretary Eric Fanning said here March 11.

Speaking to the Defense Writers Group, Fanning told reporters he has heard from quite a few Airmen about their concerns about the force.

"The main thing I promised is to continue to be transparent and to try and make decisions to get us to whatever the new normal is as quickly as possible," he said. "This has not been easy, because we still don't know what that is going to be."

None of the services can really plan beyond fiscal year 2015 because of the specter of sequestration spending cuts the following year. The Budget Control Act of 2011 is still the law of the land. While Congress passed a law giving some relief from sequestration in fiscal 2014 and 2015, the law will go back into full effect in fiscal 2016.

If full sequestration is triggered, the Air Force will have to reduce the number of Airmen further, and in a much steeper manner, Fanning said.

"We've made proposals on force structure and making the Air Force smaller, but we have to see what Congress will approve," he said. "Certainly, there is a lot of angst out there for what the future holds."

Some Airmen have complained that the service appears to value equipment more than people, Fanning said.

"I read a lot of these blogs too," he said. "There are a lot of Airmen who understand that part of our commitment to them is if we're going to send them into harm's way, we're going to send them with the best equipment and the readiest that we can."

The service must balance among capacity, capability and readiness, Fanning told the defense writers, noting that spending money on Airmen only makes sense if those Airmen are ready and equipped to fight the nation's battles.

"I think (Airmen) understand the decisions we are making in terms of investing in the technology that sets the Air Force apart and gives them the edge in a fight," he said.

Air Force leaders are still committed to giving Airmen the time to adjust to whatever decision comes forth, Fanning said. 

"We are still committed to using voluntary programs to the maximum extent possible before we will do anything in an involuntary way," he said.

The air fleet is getting older and smaller by the year, he said, so the service must invest in next-generation platforms.

"We've been fighting a war in two theaters where we owned the airspace in a way that we won't in other types of conflicts that are more contested," Fanning said.

In the fiscal 2015 budget request, the service focuses specifically on capability over capacity.

"That's why you see the Air Force aggressively trying to get rid of its older fleets and older infrastructure," he said. As this continues, he added, the Air Force’s advantage in tactical airpower and in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets will increase.

"These are two areas where we will see significant advancement," Fanning said.

The undersecretary said he also expects improvements across the board from investments in space and cyber technology.

"We cannot, in this environment, afford to invest in all the recapitalization and all the platforms we want to," Fanning said. But amid all the budget issues the U.S. Air Force is still the most potent air arm in the world, he said, and it must be ready to fight today and in the future.

"That balance between the fight today and the fight tomorrow is a struggle that we are going to be dealing with for a long time because of these budget numbers," Fanning said. "But we still are, by far, the best Air Force in the world -- even in any of the scenarios we project out over 10 years. The issue is with the budget you have, and you stack that up against the missions you are assigned. That's the metric I use."

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.
comments powered by Disqus