Force Structure Winners and Losers

The Defense Department already has proposed steep cuts to its force structure in the Fiscal 2015 budget request, but if sequestration is fully reinstituted in Fiscal 2016 more cuts will be inevitable, said Pentagon leaders Tuesday. “Readiness would be a serious problem [if sequester continues],” said Christine Wormuth, the deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans, and force development. “We would not be able . . . to recover the readiness levels that we need.” DOD cut six percent of its Active Duty forces in the Fiscal 2015 proposal, said Comptroller Robert Hale at the same briefing. The Air Force already plans to cut nearly 300 aircraft from its force, including divesting the entire A-10 and U-2 fleets. Hale said while the A-10 has performed admirably, other aircraft can do the same mission. The DOD position on the U-2 changed in the Fiscal 2015 request, thanks to reduced operating costs for the RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30. “It was always a close call, now it comes down in favor of the Global Hawk,” Hale said. If Congress fails to raise sequester caps, the Air Force likely would be forced to cut the entire KC-10 fleet, as well as all Global Hawk Block 40s, said Hale.