Making the Tough Calls Early

Several senior leaders across the combat air force expressed skepticism that Budget Control Act funding levels will be permanently reversed in the coming year, noting the Air Force already is working to minimize disruption to training and readiness. Speaking at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando on Thursday, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Commander Gen. Frank Gorenc said one thing USAF learned from 2013 was that not flying airplanes has a “corrosive effect” on readiness, which hits both training and engagement activities hard. Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle noted that when he was in charge of Pacific Air Forces nearly 50 percent of operations and maintenance dollars went away, since other accounts could not be drawn on. This year, USAF is making the “tough calls early” and though the President’s Budget is above sequester levels, there does not yet appear to be a push in Congress to permanently fix the problem. Carlisle said the House and Senate Armed Services Committees seem to recognize that USAF will look different in a decade if changes aren’t made. “But outside of those committees, it’s not being talked about a lot,” he said. PACAF Commander Gen. Lori Robinson agreed, saying she has “huge concerns” about USAF’s future under BCA.