The Air Force wants Congress to approve its plan to shed numerous aircraft, including all F-117s and U-2s, and a majority of C-130Es, 38 B-52s, and many KC-135Es, as part of its fiscal 2007 budget proposal. In every case, either the aircraft are too expensive to maintain for the combat capability they provide, or some other capability can do the job better. The plan sounds reasonable, but, in past years, lawmakers have been loath to permit such retirements—in fact, some 839 aircraft have been held legislative hostage. If Congress holds true to form, USAF budget director Maj. Gen. Frank Faykes told reporters Monday, the Air Force would face a $3 billion shortfall over the future years’ defense plan. That $3 billion diversion could wipe out re-engining programs for the AWACS and Joint STARS, as well as procurement of a new Light Cargo Aircraft, each budgeted for $1.4 billion across the FYDP.
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.