HomeNewsArticle Display

AF seeks to increase modernization budget

Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., the military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, center, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, and Air Force Modernization, March 29, 2017, in Washington, D.C.  Also testifying were, right, Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris Jr., the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements, and Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Operations.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., the military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, center, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, and Air Force Modernization, March 29, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Also testifying were, right, Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris Jr., the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements, and Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris Jr., right, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements; testifies during the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and Air Force Modernization, March 29, 2017, in Washington, D.C.  Also testifying were Lt. Gen Arnold Bunch Jr., center, the military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force; and Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, the Air Force deputy chief of Staff for Operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris Jr., right, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements; testifies during the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and Air Force Modernization, March 29, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Also testifying were Lt. Gen Arnold Bunch Jr., center, the military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force; and Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, the Air Force deputy chief of Staff for Operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris Jr., left, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements; Lt. Gen Arnold Bunch Jr., the Air Force military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force; and Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Operations, testify during the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and Air Force Modernization, March 29, 2017, in Washington, D.C.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris Jr., left, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements; Lt. Gen Arnold Bunch Jr., the Air Force military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force; and Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Operations, testify during the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and Air Force Modernization, March 29, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, the Air Force deputy chief of Staff for Operations, right, testifies during the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and Air Force Modernization, March 29, 2017, in Washington, D.C.  Also testifying were Lt. Gen Arnold Bunch Jr., the military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force and Lt. Gen Jerry Harris Jr., the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, the Air Force deputy chief of Staff for Operations, right, testifies during the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and Air Force Modernization, March 29, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Also testifying were Lt. Gen Arnold Bunch Jr., the military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force and Lt. Gen Jerry Harris Jr., the Air Force deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force senior leaders testified about Air Force modernization before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 22, 2017.

Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland, the deputy chief of staff for Air Force Operations; Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the military deputy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition; and Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris, the deputy chief of staff for Air Force Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements shared Air Force needs before the Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee.

“(Modernization) is critical to our operators, to give our Airmen the best chance of success,” Nowland said.

The Air Force emphasized the need for a defense appropriation over a year-long continuing resolution, citing the devastating impact a year-long continuing resolution would have on both readiness and modernization efforts. Senior leaders also requested permanent relief from the Budget Control Act, increased funding, flexible execution authority and manpower to recover full-spectrum readiness. In 2013, sequestration forced the total force to make sacrifices in readiness and size to ensure technological superiority.

“The best thing we can get out of Congress is a stable budget that predicts -- allows us to have a good prediction of where we'll be in the future,” Harris said.

Sustainable funding across multiple fiscal year defense plans is critical to ensure the Air Force can meet today’s demand for capability and capacity without sacrificing modernization for tomorrow’s multi-domain high-end fight against a full array of potential adversaries, the generals said.

“I want our organization to operate efficiently and effectively, to maximize the use of those dollars,” Bunch said. “Get that capability for our most important treasure, our Airmen, America’s sons and daughters… and have a decided advantage on the battlefield.”

There is a disparity between commitments and the resources necessary to achieve national security objectives, according to the generals. The first step to regain full-spectrum readiness is to rebuild the operational training infrastructure. This includes virtual and constructive environments as well as ranges and space necessary to train against high-end threat systems in a multi-domain environment. Once established, fourth and fifth generation fighter units will need to train for emerging threats.

 “We perform multi-domain operations,” Nowland said. “We need to think about how we operate in space, cyber, air, land, maritime, and bring joint effects to the battlefield. We’re going to out-think our enemy while we simultaneously – with your help – re-establish and renew our weapon systems.”

The Air Force currently has 55 combat fighter squadrons and wants to grow to 60 and increase the total number of aircraft from 1,900 to 2,100.

“We're increasing our fighter and tanker procurement to modernize the force and soon we'll be producing the B-21 (Raider) to modernize our long-range strike fleet,” Harris said. “We are also in the early stages of replacing a portion of our training aircraft, which will enable shorter training timelines and better trained aircrew.”

Linking all of the systems needed for tomorrow’s fight and accomplishing training requires both manpower and funding. The Air Force requested an increased end strength to meet national security requirements.

The Air Force is developing plans to address shortfalls in a number of key areas, including critical career fields such as aircraft maintenance, pilots, nuclear command, control and communications, intelligence, cyber and battlefield Airmen. The Air Force is short approximately 3,400 aircraft maintainers and 1,555 pilots across the total force.

Congress increased the Air Force end strength to 321,000 in 2017. However, the Air Force senior leaders project that 350,000 is needed to have a total force that doesn’t have to be stretched to meet the national security requirements. The generals highlighted that a year-long continuing resolution would force end-strength growth to halt at 319,000, further stressing the existing manpower challenge.

 “We can execute the (national defense) strategy, but to be perfectly honest, it will be great Airmen that will make it happen and we'll do it on the back of our Airmen,” said Nowland.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Hear #Airmen of the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron share what the #C130J mission means to them. https://t.co/MifPeiclpP
.@ScottAFB #Airmen use their love of the game to even the battlefield both on and off the court. https://t.co/ul1Z33LV2t
Are you getting enough Zzs 😴 at night? If not, try these simple changes throughout the day to sleep more restfully… https://t.co/ppAAtT6bgK
.@KunsanAirBase dental #Airmen are supporting a high readiness status using a #CEREC, a machine that produces custo… https://t.co/ULji8m6wMs
.@RAFMildenhall's #innovative improvement to their dorm key system saves money and time, and improves security. https://t.co/hmB0BEmx9F
#USAF and @USNavy partner to complete missions around the world. Watch how #Airmen and #Sailors use #airpower to de… https://t.co/GULcztQL0C
RT @PACAF: #COMPACAF and multinational #5thgen experts had the opportunity to experience an #F35 simulator in #Hawaii. #interoperability #R
These @341MissileWing #Airmen braved sub-zero temperatures and frigid, heavy snow to save a citizen stranded in a s… https://t.co/qeMSUoVbNy
.@grandslamwing has some real SLICC #Airmen, who provide communications in the sky. Watch how: @USAFCENT @CENTCOM https://t.co/oEkz70r0n1
.@Travis60AMW and @USAScienceFest hosted 600+ middle school students for this #XSTEM event, where #airpower was use… https://t.co/XGbEsE3Gs6
On today's #ThrowbackThursday, we remember all the #LadiesofLiberty #Airmen who help make our mission possible.… https://t.co/DRv3XKHd6a
RT @NASA: LIVE NOW: Three space travelers, including two @NASA_Astronauts, are set to launch to the @Space_Station at 3:14pm ET for a six-a…
RT @AstroHague: On our way to the launch complex at Baikonur Cosmodrome. Lift off on #PiDay...an engineer’s dream come true. Next stop, @Sp
.@AstroHague is one of few #astronauts to survive an aborted post-launch space mission. Hear his harrowing journey,… https://t.co/q5noJpVbdf
.@SecAFOfficial & @GenDaveGoldfein outline service’s priorities, aspirations to Senate subcommittee. #FY2020https://t.co/QSPay0Hbld
Nothing says #goodmorning like a good morning #FODWalk! SSgt. Benjamin Jordan, production controller w/ the 911th… https://t.co/4u8R627zVt
It takes a lot to provide air support for a major military exercise. #Airmen from the 37th Airlift Squadron, based… https://t.co/wXXE5Rvj3A
#USAF, Republic of Singapore Air Force & the Royal Thai #AirForce join together to enhance the three nations' milit… https://t.co/NLN6cSLwjQ