Thursday, March 15, 2012

Note from AFA President -- Op-eds, Aerospace industry, Fed budge

Several of our members have published op-eds that reflect their views on Airpower.

The first is by Mark Tarpley. The piece appeared in NewsOK in Oklahoma – see: The piece is best summarized by its conclusion:

“To bring this overall strategic plan into fulfillment, our government must get our economic house in order. The 2013 budget cuts represent a step in that direction. However, the planned distribution of service budget cuts, despite the premium now put on air, space and cyberspace capabilities, is counterproductive.

If our strategy leans more heavily than ever on the U.S. Air Force, it must be funded accordingly.”

A second piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It was written by Warren Kozak – see: The piece is also best summarized by its conclusion:

“The technical advantage that the U.S. now enjoys was never preordained. It was developed by private industry and taxpayers. And while America's adversaries today still retain the dogma and zeal of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, they could soon have the technology of the Soviet Union—creating a scenario this country has never experienced.”

Secondly, the Aerospace Industries Association has conducted a study showing aerospace’s state-by-state impact, found here: . The study, completed by Deloitte and commissioned by the AIA, found that the industry accounts for 2.23 percent of the U.S.’s gross domestic product (GDP), resulting in $7.2 billion in direct corporate and sales taxes in 2010 and a total of $37.8 billion in tax revenue if personal income taxes from the estimated 3.53 million associated employees nationwide are included. It is also responsible for about $50B in positive trade balance for the US. The Air Force Association believes this national asset should be nurtured.

Finally, the most common comment I received on our analysis of the Federal Budget was: “It seems the Administration is attempting to balance the budget (sic) on the back of the Department of Defense. Why aren’t other departments being cut?” We put together a 3 slide briefing which shows a comparison between every major department in the federal budgets from FY12 to FY13. See --

The last page of the brief has our observations – a couple of which are repeated below:
  • Total Defense (including OCO) budget declined $31.8B from FY12
  • Rest of Government increased by $38.8B
  • Both HHS and SSA increased by $32.7B & $55.4B
  • Agriculture, Ed, Energy, HUD, Interior, Justice, State and Vet Affairs all increased
  • Department of Transportation Budget increased due to massive increase in infrastructure spending
It turns out the bulk of the increase was in Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and a $61B increase in highway and infrastructure funding.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn

Air Force Association 

“The only thing more expensive than a first-rate Air Force is … a second-rate Air Force.” -- Senate staff member


Anonymous said...

As war in Afghanistan is overdue to be finished(we need to learn from the Russian experience)the USAF leadership is trying to go back to the 1960's era where the Air National Guard was a storage for old aircraft and no real mission. The USAF leadership quickly forgets that in times of need only the Air National Guard comes to the rescue of the active forces. Not thinking clearly about the threat of another impending war with Iran, cutting the Air National Guard to the bone is not a good policy. The Air National Guard has always been full of more experienced personnel and still is not really considered part of the active Air Force but a distant cousin. The silence of the Air National Guard leadership and the new member of the JCS, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau clearly demonstrates where their support of the ANG comes from. The state governors and the state Adjutant Generals have come forward to challenge the Air Force leadership in the dismantling of the ANG. A lesson to the present USAF leadership, the Congress of the USA is the real leadership, their support of the President's dismantling of the military is worrisome, the present USAF leaders need to face up to the White House directed cuts, it is their duty to challenge the President and if necessary to resign than to be part of the charade.

Anonymous said...

- The AFA Table's ( Dept of State and Dept of Energy "delta figures" in red are incorrect based on the "enacted" and "requested" figures in AFA's table.

- The AFA Table ( of selected federal agencies add up to an increase in FY13 requested spending of over $139B compared to the total government requested spending increase in FY13 of only $7B. To arrive at the $7B figure, AFA's Table then must support there was a reduction in FY13 requested spending of roughly $132B by agencies not shown in the table--roughly 5 times the size of the DOD decrease. In all fairness to the "Budget Observation" de facto theme that budget balancing was done on the back of DOD reductions (and to answer the question "Why aren’t other departments being cut?"), it should present the additional agencies/amounts in which the $132B reduction in requested spending takes place (dwarfs the DOD reduction).

-Decrease in Overseas Contingency Operations represents a reduction in DOD's hostility-related activities (and overdue opportunity to reconstitute) and of course does not in and of itself represent a reduction in the size of the DOD. It does represent an opportunity to reduce the budget which, as the numbers point out, will go unrealized.

The Air Force Association Blog said...

Thank you for the feedback and the mistake has been corrected.