Now, a Readiness Problem:

Is the Air Force suffering from severe readiness woes? That’s the charge from Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), ranking minority member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. USAF officers have told committee staffers that “readiness had dropped to historic lows,” said Levin, who then asked Gen. Michael Moseley to say what the Air Force planned to do about it. The Chief of Staff, however, declined to paint the situation in such dire terms. He said the service is in a “struggle” to maintain readiness, given that its old aircraft drive up the cost of flying hours and maintenance. He acknowledged that combat rescue helicopters, U-2 spyplanes, and other old systems are “getting to a margin where it’s going to be unacceptable” to continue operating them at the cost required.