Air Force senior leaders take FY 2011 budget request to Capitol Hill

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
The Air Force's top two leaders addressed the service's fiscal year 2011 budget request before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee May 12 here.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz explained how the request for baseline funds of $119.6 billion and overseas contingency operations funds of $20.8 billion would enable the service to prevail in current and future conflicts as outlined in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.

During opening remarks, the secretary said Air Force officials will continue to balance resources and risks as they invests in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space and space-related systems; and surge operations in Afghanistan.

"Our priorities are clear, we must make the most of those resources available to balance capability against risk and balance winning today's wars against preparing for tomorrow's," Secretary Donley said. "We must prevent and deter future conflict where we can and continue to be prepared for and succeed across the full spectrum of conflict."

All Airmen understand the importance of fulfilling their mission, guided everyday by the Air Force core values, General Schwartz said.

"The United States Air Force is fully committed to effective stewardship that (the Senate) and the nation place in our trust," General Schwartz said. "Guided by integrity, service and excellence, our core values, America's Airmen are performing courageously every day with precision and reliability on behalf of the American people."

The secretary and the chief responded to questions from the senators on a variety of subjects ranging from force structure to maintaining the aerospace industrial base. Of particular interest to the committee was Air Force officials' progress on the service's recapitalization efforts for its tanker and fighter fleet, as well as manpower, given rising personnel costs.

Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the subcommittee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, asked how the service planned to meet personnel requirements in new and emerging missions.

Secretary Donley answered, "This has been a tremendous challenge that the Air Force has stepped up to do.

"Our end strength is planned to be stable at about 330,000, but inside that active-duty end-strength, we are making the internal adjustments necessary to man the (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) systems and the intelligence support as it comes online," Secretary Donley said.

The Senate Appropriations Committee-Defense testimony was the final Air Force Posture hearing to Congress on the FY11 budget request.

(Master Sgt. Russell Petcoff and Tech. Sgt. Phyllis Hanson contributed to this story.)