Big news on the Air Force's future, just posted this morning:
The Air Force in its fiscal year 2015 budget proposes cutting 500 aircraft through 2019, including as many as 164 A-10s in FY-15 and 117 MQ-1 Predators between FY-15 and 17.
The Air Force on March 10 released a document detailing its force structure reduction plan, listing states that would lose aircraft and during what time frame. According to the document, the majority of the force structure changes -- the retirement or rebasing of 422 aircraft -- would begin or be completed in FY-15.
The retirement of the entire A-10 and U-2 fleets are two of the more notable force structure changes announced in the Air Force's FY-15 budget request. A-10 retirements account for 283 of the proposed aircraft reductions through the future years defense plan, and U-2 divestment accounts for 32 of those reductions. If Congress approves the service's proposal -- which appears more likely in the case of the U-2 than the A-10 -- the Air Force plans to make use of the U-2 sensors on its Global Hawk fleet. In the case of the A-10, officials have said divesting the entire Warthog fleet will save the service approximately $3.7 billion over the next five years.
The Air Force's fiscal year 2015 budget has been designed so that new investments do not all reach their peak costs at once, helping the service stagger its procurement time lines, but the budget could still be altered significantly depending on congressional review and the future effects of sequestration, according to the service's under secretary.
And the Air Force has yet to settle on a formal acquisition strategy for its new bomber aircraft, which will receive more than $900 million in FY-15 to move that development effort forward.
Under Secretary Eric Fanning told reporters this morning at a Defense Writers Group breakfast that the service's investments in a new manned reconnaissance platform, trainer and rescue helicopter, plus initial procurement of the KC-46 tanker and increasing buys of the F-35, are affordable pending certain "variables." Those include congressional authorization to retire the A-10 and U-2 fleets, expected to generate on the order of $6 billion in savings, and probably more importantly, the removal of sequestration in the final years of the current five-year budgeting cycle.
We've also just posted these:
Document: Air Force's FY-15 RDT&E Budget Books
Document: Air Force's FY-15 O&M Budget Books
Document: Air Force's FY-15 Personnel Budget Books
Document: Air Force's FY-15 MILCON Budget Books
Document: Army's FY-15 RDT&E Budget Books
Document: Army's FY-15 Procurement Budget Books
Document: Army's FY-15 O&M Budget Books
Document: Army's FY-15 Personnel Budget Books
This week's Inside the Army is dominated by stellar budget coverage. Here's the front page:
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno has said an Army of 420,000 active-duty soldiers will be incapable of properly executing America's national security strategy, but a top Pentagon official told the service last week that it should be prepared to shrink to that size if Congress does not take steps to undo the automatic budget cuts triggered by sequestration next year.
The Army has set aside $50 million in fiscal year 2015 for industry to take part in a science and technology effort intended to preserve the engineering base associated with its soon-to-be cancelled Ground Combat Vehicle program.
The Army is requesting funds for 100 more LUH-72A helicopters in fiscal year 2015 and 2016, which will help the service avoid removing Lakotas from the Army National Guard to outfit its training fleet as part of the service's aviation restructure, according to the Army's deputy director of program analysis and evaluation.
Pressed by the "realities of constrained budgets," the Army made significant cuts to the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical program, including its planned aerial layer, according to the Defense Department's fiscal year 2015 budget request.