The House Armed Services Committee’s version of the defense authorization bill, which takes $18 billion from the overseas contingency operations fund and uses it for base budget expenses, is “deeply troubling and flawed for several reasons,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee on Wednesday. The approach proposed by HASC Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) “is gambling with war fighting money at a time of war,” Carter said, because it does not fund OCO for the entire fiscal year. “It buys force structure without the money to sustain it and keep it ready, effectively creating [a] hollow force structure,” and it doesn’t address the looming threat of sequestration, Carter added. “It is a step in the direction of unraveling the bipartisan budget act … and it is another road to nowhere with uncertain chances of ever becoming law,” he said.
The Air Force isn’t giving up on its long-frustrated efforts to retire older aircraft, as the department’s leader continues to talk with lawmakers about plans to free up funds for its modernization efforts, Undersecretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones said Nov. 30.