Engage

T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
Facebook
1,981,550
Like Us
Twitter
398,883
Follow Us
YouTube Google+ Blog RSS Instagram

Acting Deputy Defense Secretary talks budget, urges innovation

Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. (AFNS) -- Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine H. Fox spoke at Air University's Air War College about budget constraints and sequestration in relation to the Air Force's role in the Department of Defense, the importance of technology and innovation April 3.

Before speaking to the agenda, Fox shared her condolences to those affected by the Fort Hood, Texas, shooting April 2.

"Nothing is more important to the Defense Department as an institution than the safety and wellbeing of our people," said Fox. "We'll do everything that we can to support the victims and their families, and all of our people."

In light of these events, the budget and strategy have to be addressed because they support not only the DOD's role in ensuring the nation's strategic imperatives are met, but the service members as well, she said.

As the defense strategy shifts from land wars in the Middle East, she said Airmen will experience gains and challenges in defending new security threats in an advancing technological arena, as well as shifting focus to the Pacific, while taking every opportunity to sustain and secure allies.

She added that this new outlook, especially concerning the budget, is in support of President Barack Obama's strategic guidance. The budget, which is $115 billion more than what sequester-level funding would provide, recognizes the nation's strategic needs in a time of continued transition and uncertainty for the U.S. military in terms of roles, missions and available resources.

The Secretary said that according to the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, the priorities outline strategy in homeland security, U.S. influence building global security, deterrence and defense should deterrence fail.

In conjunction with these challenges, there is high probability under the return of sequester-level funding in fiscal year 2016 that resources may not fully support the president's strategy or the nation's needs, said Fox.

"Leadership's stern warning about sequestration, appearing to fall mostly on deaf ears, in the Congress last year gave (Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel) no choice but to prepare the department for an era where defense budgets could be significantly lower than expected, wanted or needed," she said.

The current proposal provides a realistic request that would create a balanced military force able to fulfill the president's strategy. The balanced force is sized using available resources to maintain modernization and readiness, she said.

"To achieve a balanced force with this fiscal outlook, we had no choice but to reduce the force structure," Fox said. "Shrinking the military contains real risks because a smaller force, no matter how ready, no matter how modern or technologically advanced, can go to fewer places and do fewer things."

However, attempting to maintain a larger force in the face of sequester-level cuts would put a decade-long hold on modernization.

"The consequences of being unprepared for such a contingency could be catastrophic," she said of the unlikely, but possible, threat of a technological conflict against another military power.

Fox added that the budget was shaped by post-Vietnam War U.S. engagements. These involved keeping more force structure than could be adequately, trained, maintained and equipped within the defense budget. This forced disproportionate DOD cuts into accounts that fund readiness and modernization creating a hollow force.

"This is why Secretary Hagel has chosen to reduce capacity ... in order to assure those forces would be properly trained and clearly superior in arms and equipment," she said.

The decision to be ready and to maintain technological edge over potential adversaries at the expense of size was a decision not only based on history, but rigorous analysis, Fox said of research conducted over the past three years using two critical measures: existing operational plans and the Global Force Allocation Plan.

The analysis highlighted the unique capabilities the Air Force brings as the most technologically driven service in the world with abilities to provide vital capabilities across the entire operational spectrum.

"These capabilities must be shielded from the harshest impacts of sequester," she said of competencies ranging from airlift to space superiority, which enable the entire joint force to succeed.

This meant protecting key modernization programs: the new bomber, joint strike fighter and tanker. It also meant recommending a billion-dollar investment in next-generation engine technology. To enable these modernizations, other programs, such as the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and the U-2 Dragon Lady, have to be cut, she said.

With strides in reducing operating costs currently in place, it is vital Congress support relief from sequestration in fiscal 2016 and beyond to make the necessary upgrades needed to continue the new aircraft programs, she said.

"If sequestration returns, the department will be forced to make additional cuts that would not allow us to implement our defense strategy and would compromise our national security in both the near and the long-term future," she said.

The cuts would dwindle readiness by retiring up to 80 more aircraft, sustaining 10 fewer Predator or Reaper tasks and cutting flying hours drastically.

"Whether sequestration returns or not, the reality is that we're counting more than ever on your leadership, your innovations to solve problems and meet new and often unfamiliar challenges to national security," she said to her audience of senior military and civilian leaders.

As technological gaps close and asymmetric challenges multiply, the challenge and opportunity to move forward is not only in service leaders' hands, but in members experienced with the unique spectrum of Air Force capabilities.

"Yes, we're investing in hardware and software, but we need to invest equally in thinking about new ways of doing business and new methodologies," she said. "There is tremendous room for innovation in a tech-driven and rapidly changing field, and we need to capitalize on the pace of that change.

"As Airmen you think about warfare differently," she said of the Airmen's lack of geographical constraints. "You represent the future leaders of our great department and our great military. I think you will have the opportunity to lead through a time of profound challenge, but also tremendous opportunities."
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