Maintaining Air Dominance

The Air Force’s ability to dominate the skies may come into question in some threat scenarios if the service’s budget is severely reduced, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Philip Breedlove told members of the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel Thursday. That future budget scenario “would severely constrict our ability to approach those requirements, those weapons, those new aircraft, or other weapons, that would give us a capability” to operate in anti-access/area-denial environments, testified Breedlove. “Quite frankly, in some portions of the world, if we are not able to break that A2/AD environment . . . we will not be able to guarantee that air dominance, or air supremacy to our sea and land forces as we operate over them.” Breedlove was responding to the question about the effect of the 2011 Budget Control Act’s sequestration mechanism on the service’s ability to assure air dominance. That measure, if triggered, could cut up to nearly $100 billion annually from the Pentagon’s budget over the next 10 years. “Certainly we will all be under pressure under the new budget regimes, and especially if we go to a sequester,” said Breedlove. (Breedlove’s written statement)