The Big Dig

It will take about eight years to “dig ourselves out” of the readiness hole the Air Force is in, vice chief of staff Gen. Stephen Wilson said Wednesday during a McAleese/Credit Suisse conference in Washington, D.C. In order to reach full-spectrum readiness, the service must first get its Active Duty end strength up to at least 330,000, and likely more. Then it must improve “weapon system support” and flying hours, and reduce the overall operations tempo. All of that is going to take “a consistent level of defense spending,” said Wilson. The Air Force plans to get back up to “60 combat fighter squadrons,” up from the current 55, but such realities contrast with “$25 billion worth of infrastructure we need to modernize.”