Sequester Projections

The US will be left “less ready and less viable in meeting national defense requirements both now and in the future” if sequester fully returns in Fiscal 2016, Maj. Gen. James Jones said during a House Armed Services Committee’s seapower and projection forces panel. Jones, Air Force assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements, said that a return to sequester caps would mean the Air Force would have to “revisit” the decision to cut the KC-10 fleet “in order to garner savings … [of] $2.3 billion in the [Future Years Defense Plan] and $2.6 billion in the out years.” Divesting the KC-10 fleet would incur the least amount of additional risk, said Jones. Alternatively, 152 KC-135s, (just over one-third of the USAF tanker fleet), all 52 C-5N variants, or 80 C-17s (about 37 percent of the nation’s airlift capacity) would have to be cut to achieve the same savings. “Again, none of those are good choices, and they all come [with] significant increased risk to our ability to do our task,” Jones said. Defense officials have previously testified that sequester cuts would put the nation’s readiness in jeopardy.