“The Force They Need to Do the Job”:

The F-22 program got slashed in a late-2004 budget decision, said Ryan Henry, whose title is Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and it was “an extremely rough cut,” since DOD had been given just two weeks to come up with $10 billion in savings. “We had done a lot of work in developing the strategy for the QDR … so that helped guide the … decisions that we wanted to make,” Henry explained. This despite the fact that the “terms of reference” guiding the QDR would not be written down for another three months. Once into the QDR process, though, Henry reports he never heard a service chief or service secretary quibble with the 180 figure set out in a 2004 program budget decision. When told that Gen. Ronald Keys, Air Combat Command chief, said just last week that 381 is still the Air Force’s requirement, Henry replied, “I haven’t seen him say that. And I don’t know if he’s told his service chief that.” Henry insists that, in the meetings he attends, the Air Force’s leaders say that the 183-airplane fleet “will give them a force they need to do the job.”