Internal Problem

The Air Force budget is under attack from within, Secretary Michael Donley said Thursday. Speaking on Capitol Hill at the inaugural meeting of the Senate Aerospace Caucus, Donley said, “nearly every aspect of the Air Force budget is growing larger and faster than the Air Force budget.” He meant that the service’s topline isn’t keeping pace with the new missions USAF is required to take on. Donley said that 63 percent of the service’s spending over the future years defense plan is consumed by day-to-day operations. The remaining 37 percent is for investment. One quarter of the investment dollar goes to the combat air forces. (The F-35 alone takes 60 percent of CAF investment funding.) Space projects get 19 percent. And big portions of investment spending go towards “joint enablers” like airlift, tankers, and ISR, and for R&D projects, including work in directed energy, nanotechnology, and long range strike.