“We need our industry partners on board,” with the new budget plan, said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz on Thursday at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. He asked industry to get behind the service’s new budget proposal and help make it work by keeping program costs down and schedules on track. There can be “no bonuses for . . . cost creep,” said Schwartz, but the Air Force will also do its part by keeping requirements stable. “That’s my job,” he said. While he said the current budget request—which places the Pentagon on a course to reduce its spending by $487 billion through Fiscal 2021—is “manageable,” deeper cuts “would send us back to the drawing board” on national strategy. The 2011 Budget Control Act’s looming sequestration clause—with more steep spending cuts—would be “indiscriminate salami slicing” that would be devastating to Air Force plans and attempts to remain capable at a smaller size, argued Schwartz.
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.