It would cost the Air Force some $4.4 billion between Fiscal 2013 and Fiscal 2017 to operate and sustain the Air National Guard airplanes that the service would like to retire—some 150 tails—starting next fiscal year, said Lt. Gen. Christopher Miller, the Air Staff’s strategic planner, July 12. “That would account for putting the aircraft back into all of the normal servicing and modernization and upkeep that we do as a service,” he told the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel. The Air Force proposed shedding 286 aircraft in total across its active and reserve components as part of its Fiscal 2013 budget proposal to Congress. Senior service leadership maintains that these cuts are necessary to shape the force so that it stays ready and potent to support the new national defense strategy in the face of steep defense spending cuts. Congress has not gone along with these plans, however, saying the Air Force did not properly consult state governors on the proposed Air Guard reductions. Instead, lawmakers appear set to keep at least most of the Air Force’s aircraft force structure intact through at least Fiscal 2013. (Miller’s prepared testimony)
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.