What Else We’re Not Doing

About the only flying operations not stalled or shut down at Nellis AFB, Nev., is F-35 developmental testing, according to Lt. Gen. Burton Field, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements. Talking with reporters after an AFA-sponsored speech in Arlington, Va., on May 23, Field said all other testing—”upgrades to F-16s, testing of F-22s, testing of upgrades to F-15Es and the F-15″ is “deferred.” This will have a big impact on readiness, because “if I can’t test a radar, I can’t release it to the field,” he said. The Air Force needs its equipment to be viable in the anti-access, area-denial battlespace, and if it can’t test the upgrades, “we will be less capable” and “there will be a delay” in fielding needed capabilities, he said. One expense that can’t be helped is the range at Nellis, he said. “That costs money. But if you shut down the range and everybody leaves, you lose that expertise, and it is hard to get it back again,” said Field. The range is a “highly complex thing,” and typifies the “complicating factors” that illustrate that sequester “is not just a ‘cut’ drill,” he said.