Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Condon, now a consultant for Logistics Specialties, Inc., thinks the United States should be investing five to six percent of its Gross Domestic Product on defense—a view he shared with a Heritage Foundation audience on May 21. The seminar was titled “US Air Force Budget Dilemma: Personnel vs. Modernization.” Condon says the long period—12 years—of below four percent GDP allocation for defense has led the Air Force to drop its aircraft procurement from an average of around 300 per year between 1978 and 1991 to around 94 a year between 1992 and 2005. Because of that, says Condon, “we basically have dug ourselves into what I think is a very deep hole” with a dramatically older aircraft fleet. The Air Force has been forced to trade people for modernization. Condon is a former Air Force Association Chairman of the Board.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.