Next Up on the Chopping Block

The Air Force is looking at a wide range of force structure cuts in order to preserve readiness accounts in key mission areas in case budget-sequestration-level funding persists beyond Fiscal 2015, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer told lawmakers. The Air Force’s Fiscal 2015 budget proposal stands above the sequestration level, but the service has tried to put “reversible” budget items in its near-term plans in case sequestration stands pat, Spencer testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel on March 26. If sequestration persists into Fiscal 2016, the Air Force would have to make further, non-reversible cuts to force structure, he said. “We will divest the entire KC-10 fleet,” said Spencer of the prospect. The Air Force would also stand down and divest all RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 airplanes, and would reduce its target of 55 MQ-1/MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft orbits in theater to 45, he said. In addition, the Air Force would have to “reduce investments” in the KC-46 tanker fleet and the F-35 strike fighter, said Spencer. Further fleet reductions would “significantly impact our readiness,” he said. (Spencer’s written statement) (See also Force Structure Winners and Losers.)