SecAF, CSAF provide FY12 budget details
by Capt. Chris Sukach
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
2/17/2011 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz provided details on the service's fiscal 2012 national defense authorization budget request during a House Armed Services Committee hearing here Feb. 17.
Air Force officials are requesting $150 billion in the baseline budget and $16 billion in an overseas contingency operations supplemental appropriation, Secretary Donley said.
"Our budget request represents a careful balance of resources among the Air Force core functions necessary to implement the president's National Security Strategy and between today's operations and investment for the future," the secretary said.
General Schwartz said that the Air Force's FY12 budget request is sensitive to the current state of the economy.
"This budget request, fully appreciating the extraordinary fiscal condition that our nation faces, supports our Airmen and our continuing efforts to structure the force for maximum versatility across the full spectrum of operations for today's requirements and for tomorrow's challenges," the general said.
General Schwartz also said that despite development issues, the joint strike fighter remained a priority for the service, as does the procurement of a new tanker for the Air Force.
Another upcoming procurement for the Air Force that was discussed was the new long-range bomber, set to be part of a family of systems. Secretary Donley said the Air Force expects to field the new aircraft in the mid-2020s.
In addition to discussing the next fiscal year's budget request, both leaders also emphasized the importance of passing the current fiscal year's budget, telling members of Congress that operating under an extended continuing resolution will stress the force.
"A decision to extend the continuing resolution at FY10 levels through the remainder of this year will delay our ability to reach the secretary of Defense's direct goal of 65 MQ-1 Predator or MQ-9 Reaper Combat Air Patrols by 2013 in support of operations in Afghanistan," Secretary Donley said.
The secretary added that a continuing resolution would cause a production break and a likely increase in the unit cost of the wideband global communications satellite, the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, F-15 Eagle radar modernization and other programs.
General Schwartz similarly urged the committee members to pass the fiscal 2011 appropriations bill.
"In extending far beyond March 4 without a 2011 appropriations bill, we have to reduce flying hours, delay or cancel some weapon system sustainment and depot maintenance activity and disrupt other day-to-day operations, all of which will adversely affect readiness and impact our brave men and women who are preparing to serve or are serving in harm's way," the general said.
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