SASC Wants Commission to Study Air Force Makeup

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s mark-up of the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2013 budget request would preclude the Air Force from divesting, retiring, or transferring aircraft assigned to the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve during next fiscal year. Instead, the committee would establish an eight-member “National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force” to study the appropriate makeup of the service, states the SASC’s May 24 release on the completion of the mark-up. The President will appoint four commission members; lawmakers will pick the other four. The SASC wants the commission to report to Congress by March 31, 2013, in time to inform lawmakers mulling the President’s Fiscal 2014 budget request. The committee said it went against the Air Force leadership’s proposed force structure adjustments because it “was unhappy with the lack of analysis and justification” that caused these planned reductions to “fall more heavily on the Air National Guard,” according to the release. The SASC added $1.4 billion to the Air Force’s budget to cover the costs of having to retain this force structure next fiscal year. House defense appropriators also did not support the force structure reductions. (See also HASC Moves Against Proposed Cuts to Reserve Components.)