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Deborah Lee James: Air Force Faces Fiscal, Security Challenges Amid Budget Cuts

Deborah Lee James
Deborah Lee James

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has told a Senate hearing the service is struggling with fiscal and security challenges posed by budget cuts, American Forces Press Service reported Thursday.

Terri Moon Cronk writes James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the state of the Air Force.

James told the committee the service must prepare for operations “in a volatile and unpredictable world” by investing in what she believes to be the right technologies and platforms, according to the report.

The Air Force is requesting full funding for flying hours and high-priority readiness requirements under the fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, the report says.

“If our proposal is approved, we will see gradual improvements in full-spectrum readiness over time,” James told legislators.

She added that the Air Force could choose to shut down nearly 80 aircraft in addition to current recommendations if sequestration-level funding resumes in fiscal year 2016, reports Cronk.

“We also knew the overwhelming majority of reductions in our budget would have to come from readiness, force structure and modernization,” Gen. Mark Welsh III, Air Force chief of staff, also told the committee.

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