Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mike Hostage said he already has spent “a significant portion” of the overseas contingency operations funds that support forces fighting overseas in this fiscal year. “My annual OCO budget for ACC for the combat air forces is somewhere between $1.8 billion and $2.2 billion, depending on what’s going on” in the area of responsibility, Hostage told the Daily Report during an interview at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday. “I end up cash-flowing that out of ACC’s budget and then hope for a reimbursement from the OCO fund, which usually happens in the summertime,” he explained. However, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh has said the Air Force already has a projected $1.8 billion OCO funding shortfall in Fiscal 2013 because of the current budget continuing resolution, which keeps the Pentagon’s funding at lower Fiscal 2012 levels. “If there is no OCO this year, that’s another bill I have to figure out how to pay and another reason why I can’t wait beyond March 1 to start doing the kind of things I need to do,” said Hostage.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.