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 
Air traffic control radar system gaining ground, testing in sight

Priorities of AF acquisition outlined at symposium

DoD recognizes top performers in getting gear to warfighters

New Horizons to take place March 3 to 4

Air Force presents FY16 budget request: JSTARS recap funding on tap

Global ASNT moves past preliminary design review

Cyber Tech roundtable allows for exchange of ideas, info

Hanscom 'pockets' the U.S. to improve homeland defense

tabHanscom NewsRSS feed 
AFLCMC- Hanscom March promotions

Team Hanscom announces annual award winners

Weight loss trial program for Hanscom adult dependents

66th Medical Squadron captures multiple AFMS awards

Leadership development program nominations due March 16

Pay dates increase for civilians in 2015

Carter's message to DOD workforce

EN award winners announced

Military Saves Week scheduled Feb. 23-28

75 day leave carryover ends Sept. 30

tabNews Briefs and HappeningsRSS feed 
Upcoming events

News in Brief

School Notes

tabCommentaryRSS feed 
Straight Talk: Submit ideas, questions, concerns or kudos

Antiterrorism: Travel security

tabPhoto FeatureRSS feed 
Photo feature: This week at Hanscom, Feb. 26

tabFeaturesRSS feed 
Contingency contracting officers providing critical capability to the warfighter

Hanscom employee saves life


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