The Return of Tiered Readiness?

A return to sequester-level funding in Fiscal 2016 might also mean the return of Air Combat Command’s tiered readiness model. Whether the Defense Department is forced back to Budget Control Act-levels or funds drop even lower under a long-term continuing resolution, Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle said, “my readiness would suffer. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind.” How he would handle that is still not clear and would depend on how Congress addresses the budget, but he said the command is looking at all options. When asked if ACC would once again stand down full squadrons as it did in 2013, Carlisle said, “I’d probably have to.” Tiered readiness was originally implemented as a means of ensuring at least part of the force would remain ready to go at a moment’s notice, but the stand down had a long-lasting effect on readiness. “Remember we’re still deployed. We have a lot of fighter squadrons down range, and bomber squadrons, and ISR squadrons, and our RPA guys,” Carlisle told reporters on Tuesday during ASC15. “They aren’t doing any continuation training because they’re in the fight continuously. So, certainly from a Combat Air Force perspective, yes, we’re climbing out of it. We’ve had money, but we don’t have time. You still have to have time to give back to these guys so they can do continuation training and get back to … everything they need to do and we’re just not there yet.”