Air Force would cut 20,400 airmen, 2,700 civilian jobs under budget proposal

Dozens of planes would be retired under $109.3 billion fiscal year 2015 budget request.
MCT Regional News
Mar 5, 2014

The Air Force would cut 20,400 airmen and about 2,700 civilian jobs and retire dozens of planes under a $109.3 billion fiscal year 2015 budget request focused on replacing an aging aircraft fleet and boosting readiness hurt through sequestration, according to federal budget documents released Tuesday.

The call for military cuts comes as some in Congress have alleged President Barack Obama’s administration has weakened U.S. defenses around the world and allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to aggressively move forces into Ukraine. The reductions reflect shrinking defense budgets because of sequestration, or automatic spending reductions, and the end of nearly 13 years of war as U.S. forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

If the spending plan is enacted by Congress, the cuts would reduce uniform ranks by 16,700 active-duty airmen, 3,300 Air Force reservists and 400 Air National Guardsmen by September 2015 and pull more than 200 planes off the flight line, Air Force documents show.

“Overall, the budget shows its going to be very difficult for the Air Force to overcome the effects of sequestration and many of the accounts are taking hits,” said Michael Gessel, Dayton Development Coalition vice president of federal programs in Washington, D.C.

“Obviously, cuts of that size will be felt by Wright-Patterson, but there’s no way of knowing at this point how they will be proportioned,” he said.

In a push to keep cutting-edge technology at the expense of a larger force, the Air Force would retire the fleet of A-10 tank-busting attack jets and U-2 spy planes, the latter replaced by the RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone. Another 51 F-15C Eagle aircraft would be pulled out of flight status, leaving about 170 of the fighter jets, Maj. Gen. James F. Martin, the Air Force’s deputy assistant secretary for budget, told reporters in a televised briefing Tuesday at the Pentagon.

“We had to save billions in this budget and we made some very tough choices,” Martin said.

The Air Force would buy 26 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters, seven KC-46 tankers and continue with plans to develop a long-range strike bomber. The military branch has a new trainer jet and a combat search and rescue helicopter on its priority list to replace an aging inventory, Martin said. The average age of an Air Force aircraft has reached 27 years old.

“The Air Force is facing relatively modest threats today but it sees that the danger will grow in the future so it is determined to maintain its combat edge with new aircraft and missiles,” said Loren B. Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va. Russia and China have fielded stealthy fighters and air defense system that could deny most U.S. aircraft access into contested airspace, he said.

Thompson said he was most surprised by the decision to retire the U-2, first fielded in the 1950s but technologically upgraded over the decades, because the high flying, glider-like spy plane can haul heavier and bigger payloads at higher altitudes.

Impact at Wright-Patterson

The budget contains no military construction spending for Wright-Patterson, and could squeeze funding at the Air Force Research Laboratory in areas such as material research, Gessel said late Tuesday.

“One thing which is of great concern for Dayton is the Air Force is making investments on short-term efforts such as procurement, but there is less emphasis on science and technology which will ultimately feed the weapons’ systems of the future,’’ he said.

As part of President Barack Obama’s defense spending plan, the military will ask Congress to set aside an additional $26 billion to counteract the impact of sequestration. The money would boost readiness, reduce maintenance backlogs, repair facilities, and buy more weapons. The Air Force hopes to obtain $7 billion of that amount, Martin said. Overall, the administration wants another $115 billion over five years to supersede spending caps.

Pentagon leaders have warned cuts would grow steeper if sequestration stays in place in fiscal year 2016 and beyond.

The wide-ranging $495.6 billion Defense Department budget proposal next year would shrink the size of the Army from 490,000 today to between 440,000 to 450,000 by 2019, cancel a new Army ground combat system, and could potentially permanently dock a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, among other changes. It would also boost the size of U.S. Special Forces to 69,700 service members compared to 66,000 today.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, has said in a statement the proposed budget “will greatly impact our national security and not reflect the increased security risks around the world.” He has added sequestration has imposed a “massive strain” on the military.

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Barrie Barber - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)

Washington Bureau reporter Jack Torry contributed to this story.

©2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

truckin

CUTS on MILITARY.. yet full speed on extra $ for the one's who absolutely contribute NOT a dane thing or want to contribute to the AMERICAN society... except multiply.. and other countries, who by giving cash endlessly in hopes of being liked..???
IT"S NOT WORKING!!!!!!
I for one, am an AMERICAN who is tired of being liked whether on foreign soil or at home.
SO many more cuts from so many other areas.. yet "we the people" keep voting in spineless bums who just want to be liked!
PROTECT the borders.. PERIOD... the one constitutional obligation for the federal government and they want to forever cut or de-fund.. I don't get it.

KURTje

Air Force personnel being reduced also through technology. More done with less people. Drones are one example.

Air Force 1

Getting rid of the A10 is a huge mistake!

propman

You have that right!
The Air Force has nothing that is as capable or survivable for ground attack.
It's slow speed and loiter time are important parts of it's success.

arnmcrmn

This is the norm in our country. We want to cut hard working people from their jobs so we can support people who don't want to work.

Windy

"A modern, autonomous, and thoroughly trained Air Force in being at all times will not alone be sufficient, but without it there can be no national security."

-General H.H. 'Hap' Arnold, USAAF

Windy

General Billy Mitchell said that whoever had air superiority would also control the ground. Cutting the US Air Force is a HUGE mistake.

Cliff Cannon

@Windy: While I admire Gen. Mitchell as well as believe in a strong defense to take care of America. ( Not the rest of the world though )


There are way to many examples of the Gen. Mitchell's mistaken belief to name. Here's a few examples where--- we dominated the air---yet, lost on the ground : Korea, Vietnam, the second Iraq and currently Afghanistan.


I tend to agree it is a " HUGE mistake " to cut the air force. However, my point is here, that it is a " HUGE mistake " to paraphrase a legend in debate, when they have been proven wrong on many occasions.

propman

Just remember that all those had a more important factor involved.
They all lost the political support in Washington DC. They also had politicians micro managing of the day to day actions either through direct control or setting restrictions that prevented the military from completing their mission.

Cliff Cannon

@ Propman : Agreed. However, we can never forget, that the local populations could not be controlled by military force in any of these theaters of war.( Despite in the case of Vietnam for example, America dumping more bombs on N.Vietnam than we did on Germany in W.W.2 )


Further,in todays Afghanistan we hold the ground inside our compounds. Outside of it..... Which really is not to different from any of the afore mentioned wars.


To go back further. Look at Napoleon's adventures into Spain and then Russia. The French army controlled the battle fields. The local populations held sway outside the barracks of the French.


In fact, Napoleon, like so many other invaders ( including us ) did not understand "guerilla war fare ". For he was used to the Austrians, Prussians, etc " playing the game " which is to say having been beaten on the battlefield. They would surrender their capitals or give up heavily fortified garrisons if just a squadron of French cavalry showed up.


Obviously, most of the world does not 'play the game ' in that fashion. Still, the points you make on D.C. political interventions are extremely valid ones. That as a rule I totally agree with.

P.S. The loss of the A-10 as well as the non development of I believe it is called the " A-30 ( or 300 )" will cost the lives of way to many American servicemen and women to even contemplate. So we agree there as well.

votelibertarian

The pentagon lost TRILLIONS of dollars and you are worried a small budget cut. I say small because we spend more than the next 13 countries combined and many of which are allies. Look at the bigger picture. Wars are no longer fought with massive military forces. Its done with small groups of special forces and technology. Look up how much money isn't accounted for from 2001- today.

Contango

A step in the right direction of: Fortress America.

Problem: Who are the legislators that are willing to cut the military and then go to constituents and tell them that they reduced jobs in their district or state?

The U.S.S. Geo. Washington was to be mothballed and Congress fought to keep it:

http://time.com/5325/uss-george-...

Excessive debt and military adventurism eventually led to the bankruptcy of every empire and great nation.

The U.S. is not immune.

propman

Disagree with that
You have to add the welfare programs that really destroyed the economies.
Rome created an unsustainable system that they propped up for a long time through their military conquests.
Today those in power today can't invade neighboring areas and steal their wealth so today they are stealing the wealth of the productive people.

Contango

Not just Rome, but the UK, France, Spain, the Soviet Union, et al.

All had empires, which are all now gone.

I donated a book to the library:

"This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly" by Reinhart and Rogoff.

Check it out.

Cliff Cannon

@ votelibertarian, Contango & propman : I for one, tend to agree with the central points you all make here. After all, as you all point out no matter how a government or regime get's it's money. This problem remains; There is only so much of it ( which makes Pentagon waste so disgusting to hard working Americans who love their country ). So how do you spend it wisely ?

Now The Rest of...

Throughout history isolationism and a weak military only encourages aggressors. Keep a strong military including the air force. In addition keep a minimum of 11 carrier battle groups and an attached marine expeditionary force, with them we do not have to rely on other countries for bases. Our carrier groups are the strongest self sufficient military force in the world, currently we only have two on deployment. If we had a carrier force in the eastern Med or Black Sea Putin might act differently. Reduce the generational welfare state instead.

Contango

Re: Throughout history isolationism and a weak military only encourages aggressors."

Explain.

The Swiss and Sweds are examples of the former.

We need a military strength sufficient to protect our borders and in turn remove ourselves from some of these entangling alliances.

H*ll, NATO couldn't launch an adequate military offense against Libya, so Pres. Obama got the U.S. involved!

Keep our noses out!

Now The Rest of...

Spoken like Neville Chamberlain, how did that work out.

Contango

Re: "Neville Chamberlain,"

Absurd comparison.

Russia is feeling the wrath of the financial mkts. Let it run its course.

methodman

Agreed

Contango

Re: Throughout history isolationism and a weak military only encourages aggressors."

Again: Care to explain this premise with some FACTS?

KURTje

Want a strong nation? Make ALL able bodied people serve. Egos would be dealt with also.

Contango

Re: "Make ALL able bodied people serve."

Ludicrous.

1. A free and open society shouldn't force individuals into the military.

2. The financial costs would be enormous.

3. Military officials wouldn’t want it.

4. Looks like your pal, Obama wants to go in the opposite direction anyway.

Windy

How about making all the able bodied people ON WELFARE serve? If they are not able to be soldiers, they could be cooks and custodians for the soldiers. It wouldn't cost extra because the taxpayers are already paying them. If the people on welfare knew they were going to have to serve in the military while they're collecting a check and getting free health care, maybe there would be fewer people on welfare?

truckin

BINGO

Dr. Information

There is a great idea.

Now The Rest of...

Russia is feeling the wrath of the financial mkts. Let it run its course. (sic)

Russia holds more than 200 billion in U.S. treasury bonds. Could damage us to the extent we couldn't buy the second rate Chicago style pizza you so love.

Contango

Re: "Russia holds more than 200 billion in U.S. treasury bonds."

To dump them would only result in the harming of their own economic best interests.

You have no idea what you're babbling about.

"Moscow stock market falls by 10pc as finances take a hit over Ukraine crisis"

http://www.independent.ie/busine...

Russia is an emerging mkt.; capital is fleeing.

Foodforthought

These cuts are stupid!

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