Thursday, February 27, 2014

Note from the AFA President: FY15 Budget Preview

AFA strongly believes the U.S. must maintain a force in the air, space, and cyber domains that will be ready to fly, fight, and win our future battles in an unpredictable world.

The troubled economy of our nation is a national security issue. And, although we acknowledge the tight budgetary times we live in and the ensuing threats to USAF readiness and modernization, AFA is greatly concerned about the proposed cuts to military benefits in the President's Fiscal 2015 budget request. As stated in our annual Statement of Policy, benefits are an important tool in recruitment and retention, but we must also continue to invest in current and future readiness and modernization.

The President's budget is only the first step in the budget process. Over the next several months, Congress will hold hearings and eventually debate these proposals before passing an FY15 budget. We're still early in the budget process and AFA will work to influence the process as we get to a final bill.

As part of AFA's ongoing engagement with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, senior AFA leadership met this week with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman Martin Dempsey before their announcements regarding the FY15 budget. AFA will continue to participate with the Office of the Secretary of Defense as they go through a number of reviews on these critical issues, finding ways to maximize benefits for military members, ensuring they do not lose faith with their service, and to help the Air Force maintain its ability to recruit and retain the highest quality Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, and Civilian force.

AFA believes any changes to benefits must include grandfathering those who have served into the current compensation system—we must never break faith with our service members who have earned their benefits. AFA will fight on their behalf.

Finally, AFA believes we should absolutely ensure savings from any cuts should be reinvested back into readiness, modernization, training, and equipping the force while preserving the nuclear triad to maintain deterrence.

Tough choices lay ahead, and AFA will remain engaged with our members, senior Air Force and Department of Defense leaders, and the military and veteran support organizations that make up The Military Coalition on these issues as deliberations continue. AFA will work to find solutions that benefit the nation, our Air Force, and our Airmen and families.

For your consideration,

Craig R. McKinley
Air Force Association

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