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DOD, AF unveil fiscal 2003 budget proposals

by Staff Sgt. A.J. Bosker
Air Force Print News

02/04/02 - WASHINGTON -- The president's fiscal 2003 budget proposal authorizes $379 billion for the Department of Defense to win the war against terrorism, defend America, improve the quality of life for men and women in uniform and accelerate the transformation of the military to counter 21st century threats, senior defense officials announced Feb. 1.

The proposal includes $3 billion for counterterrorism, force protection and homeland security, senior defense officials said. It also includes $1.2 billion for continued air patrols over the United States and added funding for munitions, communications and other critical needs.

The budget also addresses several quality-of-life improvements, including a 4.1-percent increase in military basic pay with possible additional targeted raises for midgrade officers and noncommissioned officers. It continues the campaign to eliminate out-of-pocket housing expenses, reducing overall costs from 11.3 percent to 7.5 percent this year. The budget also allocates $4.2 billion for family housing accounts to eliminate inadequate housing by 2007.

The Air Force's portion of the budget, $87.2 billion, continues the service's investment in its people, maintains its prior gains in readiness and accelerates its air and space transformation, a senior Air Force budget official said. The budget is divided into four categories: people, operations and readiness, physical plant, and modernization and transformation.

More than 34 percent, which is the largest portion of the Air Force budget, is geared toward Air Force people and improving their quality of life.

"These initiatives are important because the Air Force is a retention-based force," the senior budget official said. "We recruit airmen but we retain families."

The service has set aside $27.7 billion for pay and compensation, almost $1 billion for recruiting and retention initiatives and $1.5 billion to modernize 8,400 Air Force family housing units.

The Air Force has dedicated 28 percent of its budget to its flying operations, combat training, space operations, base support and military training and education.

The service has funded $10.9 billion for 2.1 million flying hours, overhauls for 369 airframes and 833 engines, and for spares, supplies, fuel and logistics support. The budget provides $487 million for combat training on 26 ranges and more than 170 exercises. Space operations received $1.6 billion to fund 50 space launches and the maintenance of two ranges and associated facilities.

Overall base support functions received $6.1 billion for communications, operating support, child development and family support facilities, real property services and environmental projects.

Professional military education, accessions and technical training programs received $905 million.

The Air Force is taking an investment strategy with regards to its physical plant, dedicating $4.3 billion of its budget to sustaining its facilities, the senior budget official said. This enables the service to accommodate new missions, further improve quality of life, maintain its lead in environmental stewardship and optimize its use of public and private resources.

As part of this strategy, the Air Force will be constructing 11 new dormitories and three fitness centers.

The Air Force is spending 32 percent of its budget, more than $28 billion, on modernization and transformation of its forces to counter any future threats.

"This transformation combines stealth and advanced weapons with horizontally integrated surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities from manned and unmanned air and space assets," a senior budget official said.

"These capabilities will enable our war fighters to have the right information at the right place and right time," he said. "It will allow us to strike any adversary, any place, any time, any weather, day or night."

The Air Force budget also funds continued development of the Joint Strike Fighter and unmanned combat aerial vehicles as well as the procurement of:

-- 23 F-22 Raptor aircraft and advance procurement of 27 more in fiscal 2004;
-- 12 C-17 Globemaster IIIs;
-- 35 T-6A Texan IIs;
-- One E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft;
-- Three Global Hawks;
-- 22 RQ-1 Predators;
-- One wideband gapfiller satellite; and
-- One evolved expendable launch vehicle

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