Saturday, February 25, 2012

“State of the Force” Honorable Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force

Friday morning began with Secretary Donley discussing the readiness of the force to take on the ever-changing dynamics of the current security environment. Continuing with the theme of focusing on the people, Donley insisted that we make attempts to "take care of the living engine that powers our Air Force."

With plans to decrease the budget from $39.3 billion from FY12 to $35.3 billion in FY13, programs across the board are being reevaluated and fiscally scrutinized. Donley mentioned plans to modernize 350 F16’s, a full commitment to the F35 (which is the largest single program in the USAF, making up 15% of total investments), as well as a critical need to build 5th generation fighters. 

Among the programs that are headed for termination include the Global Hawk Block 30 (could not justify the costs of improving the Block 30’s), the Defense Weather Satellite System (Congress declined to fund the DWSS this year), and the C-27J.

Donley praised the successful implementation of the Acquisition Improvement Plan over the past few years, and emphasized the continued effort to simplify how we do business. "We must not get complacent moving forward."

In light of budget cuts and program reassessment, Donley wants to make sure we sustain and maintain what we’ve bought and invested in already to ensure that we stay ready for future contingencies. With that, he insisted on the prolonged importance of the relationship between industry and government: "when we share a common challenge, we share a common responsibility."

In closing, Donley stated that modernization will not wait and is essential in maintaining the US advantage in air, space, and cyber space.

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