HomeNewsArticle Display

Barrett, Goldfein, Raymond outline Air Force priorities to House lawmakers while acknowledging difficult budget choices

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett testifies before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2020. Barrett talked about the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Budget request for the Department of the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett testifies before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2020. Barrett talked about the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Budget request for the Department of the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein testifies before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2020. Goldfein talked about the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Budget request for the Department of the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein testifies before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2020. Goldfein talked about the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Budget request for the Department of the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. Raymond testifies before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. Raymond testifies before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, Department of the Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. Raymond testify before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. Raymond testify before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

The three most senior leaders of the Department of the Air Force told the House Armed Services Committee March 4 that the service is moving aggressively to build and incorporate the newly created Space Force and modernizing the full force to meet new and emerging threats.

At the same time, Department of the Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. Raymond acknowledged that achieving that goal within a tight budget for fiscal year 2021 demands “tough but necessary trades.”

“The National Defense Strategy calls on the Department of the Air Force, as a critical component of the joint force, to deter and, if needed, defeat these threats,” Barrett said, referring to Russia, China, the changing nature of space, and the unpredictable international security environment. “This fiscal year ‘21 budget request sets the course for the Department to accomplish these aims.”

Goldfein echoed that assessment but added an important nuance. “In a flat budget environment,” he said the Air Force must successfully connect “all platforms, sensors and weapons in a battlefield network” and “must find internal savings to pay for new capabilities.”

The Air Force is making significant progress on the first, Goldfein said, noting a field exercise of a capability known as Advanced Battle Management System conducted in December that allows all platforms from all services to connect and move the joint force closer to connecting “all shooters to all sensors.” A second test is scheduled next month.

When fully refined and operational, this battle network will allow warfighters to collect, analyze and transmit vast amounts of data from air, land, sea, space and cyber to all services and commanders.

On the second, Goldfein told lawmakers that he, along with other senior Air Force officials, has identified $21 billion in spending that can be shifted to underwrite modernization. Some of those funds come from retiring a collection of older planes. The list includes 13 KC-135 Stratotankers, 16 KC-10 Extenders, 24 C-130H Hercules, 17 B-1 Lancers and 24 RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 20/30 aircraft, among others.

Despite the tradeoffs, Goldfein told lawmakers that the $169 billion proposed budget provides funding that allows the Air Force to meet the security mandates of the National Defense Strategy and to “build an Air Force that can compete, deter and win with our joint teammates against a nuclear peer in an era of great power competition.”

“This budget,” he said, “is designed to achieve this objective.”

The messages delivered by Barrett and Goldfein to the House committee were nearly identical to ones they carried the day before to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Unlike the Senate appearance, however, Raymond took part in Wednesday’s hearing.

Fueled by $15.4 billion for the Space Force that is part of the $169 billion Air Force proposal, Raymond said it is targeted to fund “a very strong pivot towards space superiority and the foundational space situational awareness, command and control, and training infrastructure capabilities that underpin space superiority.”

Since the newest service was created Dec. 20, 2019, as the sixth independent branch of the military, Raymond said the focus, and many of the decisions, has been to build a “Space Force that is lean, agile and mission focused” and “unconstrained by past constructs and thinking.”

“When fully established, we may not look like the services you’ve become accustomed to, but we will be equally proficient at providing space forces ready and willing to protect U.S. and allied interests in space while providing unequaled capability to the joint force,” he told members of the committee.

Yet only minutes earlier, the committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said he was “ambivalent” about the need to establish a Space Force.

“Space is central to everything we do. It is the center of our command and control structure … it deserves special attention. I get that; I understand that. The concern is, is it just another bureaucracy?” Smith asked.

“Gen. Raymond that is your challenge; to make sure it works in an efficient and effective way and it isn’t just another bureaucracy,” Smith said.

Raymond emphasized that the Space Force would be “lean, agile and mission focused.”

“We have an opportunity to build this service to enhance the lethality of our joint force while optimizing our ability to dominate in space,” Raymond said.

Smith also expressed doubt about another central tenet of the Air Force’s modernization – increasing the number of squadrons to 386. Given budget realities, Smith said, “you’re highly unlikely to get to 386.”

Goldfein explained that the decision to field 386 operational squadrons came in response to a specific question from Congress and as a result of rigorous – and repeated – analysis to determine the force structure required to support the National Defense Strategy.

“This is not gold plated,” Goldfein told the committee, noting that the Air Force had 412 operational squadrons available to confront “a middle weight, non-nuclear threat” during the Gulf War in 1991.

Like the Senate session the day before, the general tenor of the House hearing was cordial, with only polite prodding on topics such as plans to retire a number of the oldest legacy A-10 Thunderbolt II, the production and the cost of sustaining of the F-35 Lightning II and the plan for ensuring problems with the KC-46 Pegasus are resolved.

There were also assorted questions on plans by the Air Force to reduce the number of suicides, to ensuring there are enough pilots and the potential for weather to affect operations.

Like the Senate hearing Tuesday, the session Wednesday in the House was only the first step in a lengthy process that will yield legislation providing a blueprint written by Congress of the spending, security and policy priorities for the entire United States military.

Engage

Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Learning Professionals across the @usairforce can now register for the #AirForce Learning Professionals Consortium. The eve…
Twitter
Esther McGowin Blake 🛩️ Blake was the first woman in the U.S. Air Force, enlisting on the first minute of the fir… https://t.co/kUI5jYlWzq
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: It’s true though. Have a fantastic Monday, folks! https://t.co/q2cgZvmaTX
Twitter
#ICYMI Department of the Air Force PT tests were pushed to July. Updates to scoring and physical components are ahe… https://t.co/Gn7fIr0JF6
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Thank you to @MEaglen for the recent discussion on how the @USAirForce is #acceleratingchange. https://t.co/Ycx8dLWUwS
Twitter
Hang in there. Spring is around the corner. Icing in any of its forms can add weight to the aircraft, decrease th… https://t.co/U3NA0pqFiM
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: It’s important for U.S. AFCENT to work with effective, capable partners to advance the security and stability in the region.…
Twitter
.@179AW members recently deployed in support of Operation Spartan Shield. OSS is a @USAFCENT joint forces operation… https://t.co/qeJnOgPT1l
Twitter
#Airmen and #Guardians! Don't forget to register for the Department of the Air Force's virtual Women’s Air and Spac… https://t.co/fHrRzsi4rC
Twitter
Medical professionals administer the Moderna #COVID19Vaccine at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Kadena AB continues to admi… https://t.co/SWw70MsNwf
Twitter
#AccelerateChange or Lose Action Order B: Bureaucracy. Learn more about the Action Orders here:… https://t.co/On0LRHOOf5
Twitter
RT @AFSpecOpsCmd: Special Tactics operators from the 24th SOW participated in a personnel recovery training mission during #EmeraldWarrior
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: It is my honor to be a part of this incredible event at the @AFmuseum. To see an exhibit celebrating the accomplishment…
Twitter
Check out the latest Air Force Week in Photos! Which is your favorite? See more the 🔗: https://t.co/EJKDIKhaE7 https://t.co/iQXfYWBA0w
Twitter
.@KadenaAirBase Airmen train with a #CV22Osprey during exercise Gryphon Jet 21 @374AirliftWing. Gryphon Jet exercis… https://t.co/vhR2nGmjMM
Twitter
#DYK On Sept. 26, 2005, the first all-female C-130 Hercules crew flew in combat. They were assigned to the 737th Ex… https://t.co/0F9vT7bgDz
Twitter
As part of @AETCommand's efforts to #AccelerateChange, Airmen and Guardians can access the “myLearning” digital pla… https://t.co/mAaG4pK8vi
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,332,321
Follow Us