The U.S. Air Force is looking to align its work with “a new National Security Strategy, the Department of Defense Quadrennial Defense Review, and strategic reviews of the Nation’s space, nuclear and ballistic missile defense postures,” according to testimony presented to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
During a hearing earlier this week, Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, and General Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff, testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on the Air Force’s FY2011 Budget. The budget, a proposed $119.6 billion, is spread out between meeting the current and future needs of the Air Force.
In prepared testimony, Donley outlined four key areas the Air Force was targeting: winning today’s wars, preventing and deterring future conflicts, preserving and enhancing the all-volunteer nature of the Air Force and preparing for future conflicts. The testimony also outlined the core functions of the Air Force, such as air superiority, special operations, superiority in cyberspace, nuclear deterrence and space superiority, among others.
As a means to ensure the Air Force maintains air superiority, it is requesting $12.5 billion, which will be used in aircraft modifications and building up radar capabilities. To maintain its nuclear deterrence capabilities, the Air Force is requesting $295 million to invest in both the ICBM and airborne bomber fleets.
“America’s ability to operate across the spectrum of conflict relies heavily on space capabilities developed and operated by the Air Force,” according to the statement.
Donley is requesting $10.9 billion to improve space-related systems. In perhaps one of the more important areas, cybersecurity, the Air Force is requesting $150 million, $31 million of which will be used to expand the cyber acquisition capabilities. The rest will go towards U.S. Cyber Command and expanding the cyber professional workforce.
The proposal also includes $6.7 billion in support of special operations, largely related to delivery platforms such as the CV-22.
“The Air Force continues to rapidly increase its Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability and capacity to support combat operations,” Donley said. “Air Force ISR provides timely, fused, and actionable intelligence to the Joint force, from forward deployed locations and globally distributed centers around the globe.”
Currently 90 percent of the Air Force’s ISR capabilities are deployed.
The Air Force also plans to expand its partnerships throughout the world.
“In FY11, we will expand our capabilities to conduct building partner capacity (BPC) operations with partner air forces,” Donley said. “Past experience has shown us that we are more effective trainers when we operate the same platforms as our partners.”
This coincides with a request to provide budgetary assistance to purchase platforms that are used by Air Force partners.
“Balancing requirements for today and tomorrow determined our recapitalization strategy,” Donley said.
“We chose to improve our existing capabilities whenever possible, and to pursue new systems when required. This recapitalization approach attempts to keep pace with threat developments and required capabilities, while ensuring stewardship of national resources,” he added.