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AF budget director outlines challenges, opportunities to AFA members

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

With the Air Force making every dollar count, the fiscal year 2015 President’s Budget request was presented to the Air Force Association by Maj. Gen. James Martin, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller deputy assistant secretary for budget, March 11, during the association’s monthly breakfast series.

Martin said the budget drives the Air Force to focus on the challenges and opportunities, while regaining what was lost during fiscal year 2013 sequestration. 

“With the direction of senior leadership, the priorities of this budget should accomplish alignment of resources to build the most capable Air Force that is ready for a high-end threat in 2023, while making every dollar count,” Martin said. “We must protect those minimal capabilities, which make our Air Force unique while also investing in capabilities we need for the future.”

Senior leadership worked closely together to determine where the cuts would be made, basing the decisions on four guiding principles:

- The Air Force must remain ready for the full-spectrum of military operations by providing Airmen with the right training and equipment.

- When forced to cut capabilities, the service must also cut the associated support structure and overhead.

- Seek to maximize the contribution to the total force.

- Focus on the unique capabilities the Air Force provides the joint force, specifically against a full-spectrum, high-end threat.

The budget shows the Air Force is requesting a topline budget of $109.3 billion in funding the Air Force controls, known as the “Blue” funds, and supports a total force end strength of 483,000 personnel while protecting the Air Force’s top recapitalization priorities: the KC-46 Pegasus tanker, F-35A Lighting II and the Long Range Strike Bomber.

Along with the $109.3 billion requested the budget presents plans to fully use the Global Hawk in support of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission in FY 16, instead of the U-2 and rely on multi-role fighters to take over the single mission A-10 Thunderbolt II, as they are better suited in contested environments.

The Air Force’s director of budget said with possible return to sequestration-level funding for FY16, the Air Force would look to drastic actions to sustain the force, as it would retire the entire KC-10 Extender tanker fleet and Global Hawk Block 40 fleets and buy fewer F-35A’s.

“We believe strongly that sequestration-level spending will compromise security,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “By making these tough choices today we will set ourselves on a path that we will be the most ready and modernized Air Force in the world, albeit a small one. But we need to remain very lethal against any of the potential adversaries that we might face.”

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