Doing the Math

The Air Force would be unable to execute the defense strategic guidance if sequestration returns, Air Force Chief of Staff nominee Gen. David Goldfein told lawmakers on June 16. During his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Goldfein said sequestration forced the Air Force to come up with a plan to quickly cut its budget that included the controversial request to retire the A-10 because it was forced to solve an $8 billion math problem in one year. In addition, he noted, the service is still recovering from having to ground 31 squadrons during that time. “If we’re sequestered again, we’ll have a $10 billion math problem to solve in 2018,” he said. Such cuts, Goldfein said, would directly affect US national security. Goldfein said he is “generally comfortable” with the Air Force’s budgeting as passed in the Senate’s Fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill, but noted issues still need to be worked out.