AFA on the Issues
Government Matters Interview
AFA President, General Larry O. Spencer, appeared on Government Matters TV on May 11th to discuss the top priorities for the newly confirmed Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. Heather Wilson. On the top of this list is the Air Force’s need for an increase in personnel. The Air Force has set a goal to increase its manpower from 317,000 to 350,000 and Secretary Wilson, along with the Chief of Staff, will be responsible for monitoring and managing that growth. “People are the DoD and Air Force’s greatest asset,” said Gen Spencer. The Air Force also continues to face the issue of its aging fleet of legacy aircraft. “The Secretary is walking into the Air Force at a critical time because the threat is growing, the systems are older, and she has to merge that together to make it work,” commented Gen Spencer. Watch Gen Spencer’s full interview here.
Long Range Strike Caucus Social
The congressional Long Range Strike Caucus (LRSC) held an event on Capitol Hill last week that included several congressional members and staffers. AFA supported the event, and Maj Gen Michael Fortney, Vice Commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, hosted. The B-2 bomber crew that recently bombed Libya, briefed the participants on the successful and complex mission that lasted over 33 hours. LRSC Chairwoman, Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, and Co-Chair, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler discussed the Air Force’s long range strike capabilities, in particular, the B-2 program and its impact on the Air Force’s warfighting efforts.
Fiscal Year 2018 Budget
President Trump released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 President’s Budget (PB) on May 23rd. The 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) set a discretionary spending limit at $1.065 trillion, $5 billion less than FY 2017. The president’s defense topline will be difficult to achieve as his defense spending level, of $603 billion is $54 billion above the BCA spending caps through FY 2021.
At this time last year, five of the House’s 12 spending bills had been voted out of committee. Since there are only ten legislative weeks remaining before the FY 2018 bill goes into effect, there is relatively little time to debate the defense budget and programs and other issues. In the meantime, the Legislative and Executive Branches will be debating healthcare, tax reform, infrastructure spending, and raising the debt limit. AFA continues to advocate for stable and predictable (Regular Order) spending bills, at sufficient levels, necessary for the Total Force to grow, modernize their bases, and recapitalize aging weapon systems.