As automatic budget cuts known as sequestration have inched closer and closer to becoming a reality, numerous leaders in the Defense Department have warned against what the cuts might do to the readiness of the U.S. military.
According to a U.S. Air Force statement, Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, and Charles Davis, the military deputy, office of assistant secretary of the Air Force acquisitions, testified to the House Armed Services Committee yesterday.
Both men were clear that the sequester would make it difficult for the Air Force to modernize the aircraft which are seen as a priority to make the branch a first-class fighting force.
“We have significant modernization that we have to undertake now to be able to replace key items in our inventory that will reach service life,” David said.
“The service’s top three modernization priorities make up approximately 15 percent of the modernization program: the new long-range bomber, the KC-46 refueling tanker and F-35. If we’re going to maintain the mission you’ve given the United States Air Force, then those have to be modernized,” he added.
Moeller said the sequester will force the branch to make tough decisions such as slowing the pace of modernization, struggling to sustain capabilities and looking to programs or force structure to make up the difference.
“This future budget planning is like painting a color-by-numbers picture, while blindfolded, in the back of a C-130 while flying through a thunderstorm,” he added in his closing remarks.