Though Air Combat Command has started to stand down some of its units due to the sequester’s effect on operating budgets and flying hours, Air Mobility Command won’t be following suit, AMC chief Gen. Paul Selva told defense reporters on Thursday in Washington, D.C. That’s because AMC has “two streams of income,” said Selva: its operations and maintenance budget, and the funds it gets from other organizations such as the Army that “buy” its cargo-moving services. The O&M spending is way down, such that aerial tanker pilots are only getting bare proficiency training flights—once a month—but cargo operations are proceeding relatively apace, he said. “User activity in Afghanistan,” said Selva, provides “a fairly robust foundation on which to operate” the lift portion of the fleet. In a military crisis, Selva said it would take “not too much time” to get the whole airlift enterprise back up to speed. However, he said he is having to say “no” to certain missions. No jump training for airborne troops, for example, “if they’re not slated against a deployment,” and no cross-country aerial refueling just to move an airplane, he noted. AMC continues to fly a minimum of about 500 sorties a day, and “we don’t anticipate” needing to stand any units down entirely, said Selva during the April 11 meeting.
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."