Around Town Air Force to Defend Growth Plan in March Pentagons Efficiency

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The Air Force will make its case to Congress in March for an enormous expansion in its force structure, Secretary Heather Wilson told editors and reporters on Wednesday at Bloomberg headquarters. “The Air Force is too small for what the nation is asking us to do,” she said, reported Bloomberg. “The difference between what is needed and what is available is measured in risk.” Last month Wilson announced a plan to increase the number of operational squadrons from 312 to 386 by 2030, a change prompted by the need to prepare for the prospect of a conflict with a near-peer adversary such as China or Russia. … Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ goal of transforming the military into a more lethal force that relies on less bureaucracy and is capable of thwarting Russia and China remains a distant target although the initial steps have been taken to realize his vision, according to a Washington Post story that assesses the Pentagon chief’s first 21 months in office. Notably, “his effort to drive efficiency across the Pentagon has stalled, by many accounts,” although there are several exceptions, it states. A plan to save $100 billion over five years by streamlining overhead has since been scaled back and now aims to save only $46 billion, according to a former senior DOD official. … Jack Reed (R.I.), the top Democrat on Senate Armed Services, told reporters on Wednesday his party would insist that any increase in defense spending be matched by a corresponding increase in domestic programs in a new budget agreement, reported CQ. The most recent budget accord covered fiscal 2018 and 2019. If lawmakers fail to strike a new deal loosening the statutory budget caps for FY 2020, defense spending would drop $71 billion in the next fiscal year.Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nashlast_img