Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel last week, Air Force senior officials made the case for another round of base closures in 2015, despite lawmakers’ skepticism. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) the panel’s chair and BRAC skeptic, pressed the officials during the April 24 hearing for up-to-date information on excess base infrastructure—and what the Air Force would do if Congress does not authorize another BRAC round. Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller, deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, told Wittman that the Air Force has stood up “Air Force 2023,” a 10-year planning effort to identify priorities, critical capabilities, and the framework for posture—both stateside and around the globe—and basing decisions based on those priorities. Lt. Gen. Judith Fedder, deputy chief of staff for logistics, installations, and mission support, told the panel the Air Force saw a “relatively small impact” from the 2005 BRAC round, and given the fact that since then the service has divested some 500 aircraft, officials think there is excess capacity. She said the Air Force has about $240 billion worth of installations and infrastructure across the force, and projecting forward to 2023, the cost to sustain the existing infrastructure becomes unaffordable for the service.
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.