Expect the US Air Force’s FY16 budget request to look similar to what the service submitted in FY15, including an ongoing push to retire fleets of aging aircraft, the services top two officials told reporters Thursday.
Speaking at a semi-annual “State of the Air Force” event, Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh confirmed they will move forward with plans to retire fleets despite strong pushback from Congress over the A-10 Warthog and, to a lesser extent, the U-2 spy plane and KC-10 tanker.
“We are going to be asking the Congress, of course, to eliminate sequestration, as well as to allow us to get rid of excess base infrastructure,” James said in her opening remarks, “and we will once again ask for the authority to divest some of our older aircraft in order to free up money to plow back into people, readiness and modernization.”
While James avoided specifics ahead of the formal rollout, she said the budget will feature key investments in “the nuclear enterprise, cyber, space, our national and reserve forces, and ISR.”
Defense News reported in September that the FY16 budget request will look much like its FY15 sibling, and based on Thursday’s comments that is likely true – with some potential changes.