A total of 31 squadrons across the Air Force have stopped flying as a result of budget sequestration, said Lt. Gen. Burton Field, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements. That includes, 13 fighter and bomber squadrons, two AWACS squadrons, and 16 “training or some other kind” of squadrons, said Field during an AFA-Air Force Breakfast Program event in Arlington, Va., on May 23. In addition, “seven or eight” other combat air force squadrons are flying “at a very reduced rate,” and all Air Force tankers and C-130s are “flying at the bare basic rate,” said Field. “That’s not a good situation for an Air Force,” he said. However, there may be some glimmer of hope for dormant aircrews. That’s because the Fiscal 2013 reprogramming request that the Pentagon has submitted to Congress would enable some of those squadrons to start flying again, said Field. “But only a small chunk,” he noted. “Maybe a four-ship’s worth or a six-ship’s worth, just so we have the capability in case something bad happens.”
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.