Budget Preview

Orlando, Fla. The upcoming Fiscal 2015 Air Force budget will see “a greater reliance” on the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, service Secretary Deborah Lee James told attendees at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium here Friday. James could not give specifics until the budget is released March 4, but she forecast a new scheme, based to a degree on the findings of the congressionally mandated National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force report, which sought “a greater collaboration” between the Active, Guard, and Reserve. James also said the budget likely will show a “flattening” of the steep increases in military compensation, and “we may do some involuntary” separations of serving members, though it also will offer a “temporary reprieve” from last year’s abysmal readiness situation. She said USAF will offer up the retirement of “whole fleets of aircraft” to meet its sequester-demanded spending limits. The cuts are needed so USAF can “re-invest in key areas” to assure future, as well as short-term readiness. “We had to make some very hard choices” in the Fiscal 2015 budget, said James. She added, “Some you’ll like and some you won’t like.” James also noted that when war spending was flowing during the last 12 years, there were some hard choice that should have been made but weren’t. Even though USAF will be smaller, James said she’s determined to leave the service “better than [when] I found it.”