It Only Gets Harder

If Congress doesn’t go along with the Air Force’s proposed force structure changes in Fiscal 2013, it needs to pony up the money to pay for the larger force, said Secretary Michael Donley on July 25. Speaking at a Capitol Hill event sponsored by AFA, the National Defense Industrial Association, and Reserve Officers Association, Donley said the force structure reductions put forth are necessary to meet the funding levels established by the 2011 Budget Control Act. That law specifies graduated spending levels a decade into the future, far longer than any plan Donley said he’s encountered during his lifetime of public service. “It only gets harder from here,” said Donley, urging Congress not to “double down” by passing the buck to Fiscal 2014. That, he said, would only increase the amount of constituent pain inflicted later. “I think [lawmakers have] heard that message and . . . it’s understood,” he told the Daily Report after his address. Donley said the service’s Fiscal 2013 budget proposal is “extremely complex.” He asked Congress not to tinker with it too much lest the Air Force’s carefully “balanced” cuts fall disproportionately on needed capabilities. (See also SASC Wants Commission to Study Air Force Makeup.)