Hard Pills to Swallow

The Air Force plans to try to blunt the pain of further budget cuts—it’s facing a Pentagon-mandated $12 billion reduction over the next six years—by streamlining activities, outsourcing, and doing more in cyberspace. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne is confident that the service can safely reduce flying hours, as long as the pilots get equivalent training in high-fidelity simulators. Flying less also would mean reduced wear and tear on aircraft. However, Wynne told reporters in Washington Tuesday, that he still hopes that he can convince Congress to let the Air Force retire a fair number of older aircraft, which are devouring maintenance accounts. He noted that such aircraft “are, unfortunately, prized possessions of some Congressional districts.” USAF has canvassed Capitol Hill talking up “freedom to manage,” whereby USAF can better manage its money if it doesn’t have to operate assets it doesn’t need. Even with all this, though, Wynne acknowledged, “As we look forward, I think we have to take some appetite suppressant pills.”