The Under-Funded List

This year’s Air Force “unfunded priorities list (UPL),” annually prepared to let Congress know where the Air Force would put any additional, unrequested funds, would not feature any “new starts” or indeed anything that isn’t already in the official budget, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said at a Pentagon press conference Wednesday. (There has been some concern among lawmakers that DOD boss Robert Gates intended to clamp down on unfunded requests.) Schwartz described it as “an ‘under-funded’ list” of things he wishes were budgeted more “robustly”—things like radios and aircraft connectivity. To make the cut, Schwartz said, items were evaluated as to whether “we need more, or we need it faster.” Last year’s UPL spelled out about $20 billion worth of gear the Air Force said was not nice-to-have, but essential. That list came out shortly before the then-Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force were asked to resign. Schwartz did not put a value on his list, but suggested it would be far smaller than last year’s.