Welsh: Sequestration Will Hit Readiness and Modernization Hard

During his July 19 confirmation hearing, Air Force Chief of Staff nominee Gen. Mark Welsh painted a stark picture of how sequestration’s spending cuts would affect the service’s everyday operations. “Just doing due diligence of operational activity in the field, that would be affected instantly by sequestration cuts,” said Welsh in response to questioning. “The impact is almost immediate, just from the perspective of training and readiness,” he added. Assuming a 14-percent budget cut across the board, Welsh said, every aspect of operations would be impacted. “Our ability to provide ready, deployable units is affected. Our ability to keep airplanes flying and train specific munitions to support counterterrorism activity” in US Central Command’s and US Africa Command’s area of responsibility “is affected,” he said. So would be the training of new air crews and remotely piloted aircraft pilots, he added. Eventually, modernization accounts “as we try and populate the force with new capability we need” will come into play, said Welsh. “I think the trade space will become readiness and modernization,” he said of a post-sequestration Air Force budget. “That’s horrible trade space to be operating in.” (Welsh’s responses to advance questions)