Hanscom Air Force Base   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

News > Welsh: Sequestration continues to drain crucial capabilities from America's Air Force
Welsh: Sequestration continues to drain crucial capabilities from America's Air Force

Posted 6/20/2013   Updated 6/20/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Master Sgt. Angelita Colón-Francia
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs


6/20/2013 -  ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- The Air Force's top officer reported on the growing strain sequestration has put on readiness, personnel and modernization to a group of civic and industry leaders attending the Air Force Association's monthly breakfast here, June 17.

Sequestration has hit the Air Force hard, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III.

Like the rest of the Defense Department, the Air Force has seen severe reductions in funding, leading to concerns about critical mission factors including the readiness of pilots and aircraft that aren't flying today.

"We've got folks sitting in fighter squadrons looking out of windows at aircraft that they haven't touched since the first of April," Welsh said.

Currently, the Air Force has stood down 33 squadrons, 12 of which are combat-coded fighter and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance units. Another seven squadrons have been reduced to a basic mission capable rating.

Even before sequestration, there was a readiness crisis in the Air Force, Welsh said. The severe cutbacks required by the sequester will further downgrade force readiness beyond the current fiscal year if a budget agreement is not reached.

"We can't just all of a sudden accelerate training and catch up," he said. "It costs up to 2 1/2 times as much to retrain a squadron as it does to keep it trained."

Welsh emphasized the Air Force's efforts to continue to save where possible.

"We're looking for every option for where you can cut money -- every modernization/recapitalization program," Welsh said.

Regardless of reductions, the service cannot perform its air superiority mission with today's aging F-15 and F-16 fighters, and limited number of F-22s, the chief of staff said, making the new F-35 non-negotiable.

"When we truncated our F-22 buy, we ended up with a force that can't provide air superiority in more than one area at a time," Welsh said. "The F-35 is going to be part of the air superiority equation whether it was intended to be, originally, or not."

Welsh pointed out other countries will begin flying stealthy, highly-advanced fighters in the coming years, and if the U.S. doesn't have the aircraft to counter them in a high-end fight it will be in trouble.

There's nothing else that can do what the F-35 can, he said.

"Out there where people fight and die, for real, if a fourth-generation aircraft meets a fifth-generation aircraft, the fourth-generation aircraft may be more efficient, but it's also dead," Welsh said.



tabComments
No comments yet.  
Add a comment

 Inside Hanscom AFB

ima cornerSearch

tabMission NewsRSS feed 
Register for AFA Cyber Workshop

Fraud working group training scheduled

Air Force moves to replace AWACS radio system  1

Hanscom awards contract to improve deployable landing system capabilities

New interrogation system installed on AWACS, more in pipeline

AWACS reservists team up with E-3 program managers

New AFMC mission, vision statements emphasize agility

GPS technology helps Hanscom improve air traffic management

tabHanscom NewsRSS feed 
OPM awards contract to protect data theft victims

Bedford to host annual founding celebration

Suicide Prevention Month: A reminder of our 24/7/365 responsibility to ourselves and each other

September is National Preparedness Month

AFLCMC-Hanscom September promotions

Hanscom extends SAPR services to Air Force civilians

Poling looks to leave positive impact

SecAF speaks on acquisition, partnerships and priorities at Hanscom

SecAF visits Hanscom

SecAF visiting Hanscom today; all-call scheduled

tabNews Briefs and HappeningsRSS feed 
Upcoming events

News in Brief

School Notes  1

tabCommentaryRSS feed 
Roadway responsibilities extend to all

Be proud of your role this Independence Day

tabPhoto FeatureRSS feed 
Photo feature: This week at Hanscom, Sept. 4

tabFeaturesRSS feed 
Blazing her own path

Overcoming adversity leads to promising Air Force future  1


Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     USA.gov     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act