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Deborah Lee James: Air Force to Get ’70-75 Percent’ Of Budget Request Through Congress

Deborah Lee James
Deborah Lee James

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James expects to be able to work with Congress on the service’s two-year spending picture because of what she calls “improved” communications with lawmakers, Defense News reported Sunday.

“When you look at our total plan that we’ve put before the Congress, even though there are key areas of disagreement … we will probably get about 70 [or] 75 percent of our initiatives that we have put forward,” James told the publication.

Becky Iannotta reports that a majority of Congress supports for the Air Force’s programs on the F-35, KC-46 and long-range strike bomber and many lawmakers also oppose the retirement of the A-10 and U-2 aircraft fleets.

James also said the branch has communicated concerns with Congress about concerns over readiness if the proposed budget for particular programs was to be reallocated.

Another topic of discussion centers on the voluntary or involuntary separation of thousands of airmen as the Air Force targets a smaller force of 310,900 by September 2015, according to Defense News.

Iannotta writes that James and her colleagues have continued to push for Congress to lift the sequestration to avoid additional personnel cuts in the military and have also been communicating these changes with airmen.

According to James, the Air Force has sought to address these issues through plans for military bonuses to increase morale, partnerships with the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve to explore mission sharing or transfer and responses to internal incidents.

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