The Ugly Truth

The Air Force likely would lose “more than 10 percent” of its fighters, strategic bombers, and airlift, if the 2011 Budget Control Act’s sequestration mechanism kicks in and the Pentagon faces additional severe spending cuts over the next 10 years, said Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), House Armed Services Committee chairman. That would mean the Air Force would drop down to about 1,500 fighters, 100 bombers, and less than 500 airlifters, according to his Oct. 14 letter to the leadership of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Already the act has cut some $482 billion from DOD from Fiscal 2012 to Fiscal 2021, according to a chart in McKeon’s letter. If the joint committee members cannot agree where to shed more than $1 trillion in additional federal spending, the sequestration mechanism would freeze DOD spending levels at the Fiscal 2003 level—meaning about $480 billion annually—from Fiscal 2013 through Fiscal 2021, according to McKeon. That would mean an additional $439 billion in cuts, according to his chart, meaning DOD would stand to lose some $921 billion in total. (See also Unsustainable Cuts from the Daily Report archives.)