WASHINGTON — The ability to adapt and stay ahead of potential adversaries is one of the greatest challenges the Air Force faces, undersecretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan said during an Air Force Association breakfast in Washington, D.C., Jan. 18, 2018.
To help meet this challenge, the Air Force is focusing on a budget that will further the service down its path to improving readiness. The service has initiated a zero-based budget review program for the first time in more than two decades.
“The idea here is to get after the relevancy of what we’re doing,” said Donovan. “We’ll look at each and every program and requirement to see if it’s increasing our lethality for the future threat environment as we prepare for (the fiscal year 2020) and the Future Years Defense Plan, and ensure we’re getting the best use of every taxpayer dollar.”
Fiscal 2018’s budget keeps with the previous year’s focus on readiness and capacity by keeping funding on track for the F-35 Lightning II, KC-46 Pegasus, B-21 Raider and other important programs. However, Donovan warned that a continuing resolution would have a negative effect on manpower and on these programs.
“The further along you go into the fiscal year, with the short-term CR’s, the more likely a full term CR becomes and that’s not a good thing for us,” said Donovan. “It will have damaging impacts (with) readiness and modernization taking the biggest hits.”
Looking toward the future, Donovan highlighted the fiscal 2019 President’s Budget request – a strategy-driven budget that aligns with the direction of the new National Security Strategy and with the objectives of the new National Defense Strategy. For the Air Force, the fiscal 2019 request builds the size and mix of capabilities the service needs to compete, deter and win in the joint environment by focusing on people, readiness, modernization, nuclear deterrence and space.
Despite future budget uncertainties, the military and the Air Force is ready to support any military options that may be required and the Air Force will prevail.
“We are still the greatest air and space force on the planet,” said Donovan.