The Air Force expects to save about $3 billion across its five-year spending plan that starts in Fiscal 2012 by modifying its depot and supply chain processes for weapons system sustainment, according to Secretary Michael Donley. Speaking at an AFA-sponsored event last week in Arlington, Va., Donley said Air Force officials realized as they were putting together the Fiscal 2012 budget that they had a requirement for weapons systems sustainment that exceeded the Fiscal 2011 forecast by $7 billion. All that spending would have accounted for only a two percent increase—from 80 percent to 82 percent—in sustainment levels, he said. (A higher level means that it takes less time to move an aircraft through a depot and have it available for use.) “This kind of [cost] growth is really unsustainable,” he said. To counter this trend, Donley said the Air Force convened a working group to identify sustainment efficiencies. The group discovered that USAF could “squeeze a little more sustainment” and cut the overall projected cost to from $7 billion to $4 billion, while raising the sustainment level by four percent—from 80 percent to 84 percent—he said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.