Living with the Angst

Prolonged operations under a continuing resolution this fiscal year are forcing the Air Force to conduct its business very inefficiently, said Maj. Gen. Alfred Flowers, deputy assistant secretary for budget. “We are doing things that we would prefer not to be doing,” he said during his Air Force Association-sponsored presentation in Arlington, Va. For example, the service is barred under the CR from starting new military construction projects and is precluded from increasing the production rates of assets like the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft beyond Fiscal 2010 levels, he said. Such constraints are creating “a little bit of angst for us,” he said. Flowers thinks “eventually” Congress will enact a defense appropriations bill for the remainder of the fiscal year. However, “the longer we go [until that happens], the harder it will become to catch up,” he said. His worry is that activities that the service has had to defer “will bow-wave” into Fiscal 2012, extending the disruptive impact of the CR. Beyond that, the Air Force is also dealing with rising fuel prices, said Flowers. The service faced a $119 million bill when fuel went up from $127 to $131 per barrel, he noted during the Tuesday event.