Please, Please, Mr. Congressman

The Air Force has a long laundry lists of items that would fall out of its Fiscal 2016 budget request if the Budget Control Act-mandated sequester is not repealed. Among bulleted items in its budget explanations, the Air Force said it would lose a whole squadron—14 aircraft—of F-35A fighters. Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability worldwide would take a hit, as the service would have to divest the Global Hawk Block 40 fleet and eliminate modifications to the Global Hawk Block 30 force. Remotely piloted aircraft combat air patrols would be reduced by 10; that’s equivalent to the level of effort operating over Syria and Iraq today. The KC-10 fleet would have to be retired early, eliminating 13 percent of the Air Force’s refueling capability. The sequester would “degrade” the service’s worldwide capabilities by deferring needed military construction and maintenance. There would be cuts in flying hours as well as range operations and munitions buys, hurting readiness. Space, cyber, and nuclear enterprise improvements would be reduced, and the Air Force would have to defer or eliminate its new engine program, which offers a fuel use improvement of as much as 25 percent over current powerplants. It would also cause the service to have to defer replacing the 27-year-old Air Force One fleet until after the next two Presidential terms. Even without the sequester, the Air Force said it still needs to divest the A-10 fighter and EC-130H electronic warfare platform to live within proposed budgets, and must have a base closing and realignment round in Fiscal 2017 to get rid of at least 20 percent of its facilities. (See Air Force Fiscal 2016 Budget Overview and Air Force Fiscal 2016 Budget Rollout Briefing; caution, both are large-sized files.)