Acting Under Secretary of the Air Force Talks Reality of Fiscal Uncertainty

Last week, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley published four opinion pieces on the future of the Air Force.

Donley focused on three main areas: force structure, readiness and modernization. The theme: "We are smaller and likely to get even smaller at a time when our weapons are old and we are trying to replace them."

Last Friday, Sec. Donley and Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, sat down together to brief the media on their plans to address sequestration and its impact on the future of the Air Force.

Both Air Force leaders stressed the importance of ensuring that readiness was not impacted, stating that operation and maintenance funds would be the first areas cut through prudent planning for the third and forth quarter of FY13 (when sequestration would likely come into play). Guidelines for implementation are to come out for combatant commanders this week.

Today the Air Force Association kicked off the 2013 season with a talk from Jamie M. Morin, acting under secretary of the Air Force.

Morin echoed much of the same sentiments as Donley and Welsh - there is continued uncertainty surrounding what will happen with sequestration and what future governmental budgets will look like. This uncertainty and budgetary limitations make future planning, procurement and readiness extremely vulnerable. The Air Force has been directed to make hard decision, however, only those that are reversible or recoverable.

NGAUS was able to ask Morin the following question: "Last year, the Air Force was criticized by Congress for not providing proper data, methodology or justification for their budgetary decisions, specifically in terms of force structure changes. What steps is the Air Force taking to provide this information and ultimately fix this problem?"

Morin acknowledged that the Air Force has to take better steps in providing the proper analytics, as a critical piece for informed decision making processes. Likewise, the Air Force is taking steps to engage various stakeholders - such as the Council of Governors and the adjutants general - in a more open dialogue and discussions.

If this holds true, the Air Force may finally be listening to the loud collective voice of lawmakers and the National Guard.

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