Air Mobility Command chief Gen. Paul Selva is taking a cautionary view of the bipartisan budget deal that has now passed the House and Senate, reportedly offering some sequester relief for the military services. “We don’t have the details yet of the appropriation that would follow the authorization,” Selva said, though he’s glad for “positive signs in terms of the readiness accounts.” But, he warned, “We’ve got to be really careful that we don’t assume…complete relief” or even “significant relief from the outyear impacts of the Budget Control Act.” The budget course USAF has taken—planning for the worst, with room to accept adds if they come along—“puts us in a good place to react either way. So we’ll stay the course for now,” Selva said. He’s “optimistic” the deal means “there would be some relief from the speed with which the (BCA) is actually implemented,” but “we’re still going to have to grapple with…the tough choices that get us to the potential 10 percent takes that are embodied” in the law. Selva has previously said the sequester, even with some minor relief, means USAF might have to retire the KC-10 fleet, though he acknowledged it would be a reduction the service would rather not make.
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.