The Shrinking Pot

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley warned Friday that there will be “protracted debate” over the nation’s finances in the coming years, and “any doubts that defense would be part of that debate were erased this week,” after members of Congress spoke openly about cutting defense to meet deficit-reduction targets. Addressing AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Donley said the best the Air Force can hope for is “flat budgets.” That means a steadily shrinking pot for procurement, since personnel costs are rising. In response, the Air Force will continue to seek any and all efficiencies; the recent drill that resulted in $34 billion in efficiency savings “was not a one-time event,” he said. Instead, it was one step in a continuum.