As Bad as It Gets

Budget sequestration will severely damage Air Force readiness if it is triggered on March 1, states a memo last week from the service's leadership to Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter. According to the Jan. 7 memo, signed by Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force can no longer simply hope Congress will avoid the postponed sequester and is therefore taking steps to blunt the effects, which in any case will have "immediate and devastating impacts to readiness." Specifically, since combat units must have top priority, the Air Force will apply the mandated spending cuts to any units not in Afghanistan or spooling up to go there, "sacrificing preparedness for contingencies or [operations plans]," states the memo. The 18-percent reduction would be applied "disproportionately across the force," causing some units to "stand down for extended periods," with a possible "flying standdown from late July through September," wrote Donley and Welsh. To continue to the full report, click here. See also The Readiness Question, a new article from Air Force Magazine that discusses the readiness concerns of Air Force senior leaders.

Wile E Raises His Parasol

The sequestration effects described in the memo sent by the Air Force leadership to Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter last week assume that the service immediately takes some cost-cutting steps, but which can only slightly dampen the pain. Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh described 10 steps in the Jan. 7 memo that they would take to minimally blunt the devastation. These include notifying civilians of a furlough as soon as possible; implementing a hiring freeze; reviewing items in the overseas contingency operations account to "identify potential deferments"; canceling all temporary duty assignments, conferences, and symposia; halting any public-relations flying, such as airshows or memorial flyovers; curtailing purchases of office supplies, furniture, and fresh IT gear; deferring any real property maintenance by half; de-obligating or incrementally funding contracts to encompass only Fiscal 2013; and selectively halting or delaying contracts "to reduce expenditures." Donley and Welsh said these measures would comply with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's direction to avoid taking any steps not "reversible or recoverable." As of Jan. 7, they were "proposed" rather than directed actions.

Donley: There’s No Mitigating the Sequester

The Air Force leadership will issue guidance to its major commands this week on what “prudent measures” they must take now to prepare for the possibility of a defense-wide $45 billion sequestration taking effect on March 1, said Secretary Michael...

The Pervasive Need for Modernization

Among the most difficult challenges facing the Air Force is the need to modernize at a time when overall defense resources are diminishing, said Air Force Secretary Michael Donley. “The need for modernization is pervasive across the Air Force,” he...

Hitting the Tactical Airlift Floor

Congress’ mandate that the Air Force keep 32 tactical airlifters in service that it aimed to retire in Fiscal 2013 effectively “equates to an intratheater airlift floor” of 358 airplanes through the fiscal year, said Col. Jon Thomas, program integration...

Security Transition in Afghanistan Accelerated

Afghan security forces will take the lead for security across all of Afghanistan from NATO forces sooner than originally planned, assuming that role this spring instead of in mid-year, announced President Obama. “Because of the progress that’s been made by...

Medal of Honor for Former Soldier

President Obama will award former Army SSgt. Clinton L. Romesha the Medal of Honor during a White House ceremony on Feb. 11, announced the White House. Obama will honor Romesha for his conspicuous gallantry during combat operations in Afghanistan in...

Deployment Transition Center Hits Milestone

The Air Force Deployment Transition Center at Ramstein AB, Germany, earlier this month reached the milestone of having supported more than 5,000 service personnel since it opened its doors in July 2010. The center offers a four-day program meant to...

Electrical Malfunction Doomed Predator

An electrical system failure led to the crash of an MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft during a mission over Afghanistan last August, announced Air Combat Command. The RPA switched to battery power after a dual alternator failure crippled its main...

Commando II Times Fourteen

Lockheed Martin delivered the 14th new-build MC-130J special-mission aircraft to Air Force Special Operations Command. Aircraft 5713 departed the company’s manufacturing plant in Marietta, Ga., on Jan 9 for Cannon AFB, N.M., according to a company release on that same...