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CSAF highlights fiscal 2013 military construction efforts

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Richard A. Williams Jr.
  • Air Force Public Affairs Agency
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz discussed military construction projects contained in the service's fiscal 2013 budget request during a congressional hearing March 1 here.

Schwartz joined Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Robert Hale; Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno; Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert; and Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford during testimony before the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.

"Appreciating that we must tighten our belts for military construction, military family housing, and facilities funding, as we did with other portions of the budget, the Air Force made corresponding difficult decisions in MILCON and related areas," Schwartz said.

The Air Force took great care to comply with the Defense Department's new strategic guidance while ensuring the protection of its distinctive capabilities and core enduring contributions to the joint team, he added.

Using centralized asset management principles, the Air Force aims to build only where required infrastructure capacity is needed or where it is cost-effective to build new, more efficient and functional facilities, Schwartz said.

This resulted in a $3.9 billion request for military construction, and military family housing and facilities, including $500 million to modernize overseas base housing and support U.S. housing privatization, Schwartz said.

"Our budget request also includes accepting some risk with funding facility restoration and modernization at 90 percent of historical levels, and sustainment funding at slightly more than 80 percent of the Office of Secretary of Defense-modeled requirement," he said.

The Air Force also took a deliberate pause in military construction funding for systems which have been cancelled, like the C-27J, or deferred, such as the F-35 Lightning II production delay, Schwartz said.

"As we execute our planned force structure changes, we will re-examine corresponding infrastructure and base capacity requirements," Schwartz said. "We will continue to address the challenge of carefully managing excess infrastructure and sub-optimal utilization of existing facilities."

The general stressed that despite current fiscal constraints, the Air Force remains mission capable. However, he added that sequestration would require a new strategy and would have severe impacts on Air Force readiness.