The Defense Department’s $582.7 billion budget request for Fiscal 2017, attempts to balance the threats of near-peer countries with the continued battle against terrorism. The total request, which includes $58.8 billion in war-time funding, calls for a 1.6 percent pay increase for military personnel and a total Air Force endstrength of 491,700. The Pentagon went into its budget planning with five major concerns to address: a resurgent Russia in Europe, China’s encroachment into the South China Sea, Iranian threats to the Middle East, North Korean belligerence, and the continued War on Terror, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said during the budget rollout on Tuesday. The Fiscal 2017 budget prioritizes the department’s need to build readiness for a high-end fight, provide conventional deterrence, and retain “the advantage we enjoy in human capital,” said Work. “This budget invests in high-end capabilities across a range of domains, … attempting to improve readiness through training for the high end fight,” Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday. (DOD Fiscal 2017 documents.)
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.