Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has said Congress should put an end to budget caps that impede the service branch’s efforts to build up readiness and update its aging aircraft fleet, Defense News reported Monday.
“If you don’t provide relief from the Budget Control Act, we will hollow out the force and set ourselves back years,” Wilson said Monday at a breakfast event of the Air Force Association.
“We have to get beyond the Budget Control Act.”
She also reiterated her support to investments in space capabilities, recapitalization of the Air Force’s nuclear weapons and retention of the A-10 Warthog aircraft.
“At some point, there are about 134 A-10s that are going to have to get their wings redone if we’re going to keep them long term, but when we look out five years they are still in the Air Force inventory,” added Wilson, who assumed her current post in May.
Wilson also discussed the service branch’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 that includes the plan to acquire 46 Lockheed Martin-built F-35A Lightning II fighter jets and 15 Boeing-made KC-46A Pegasus aircraft as well as fund development work on the B-21 Raider bomber program, the Air Force reported Monday.
She said the service branch intends to retain more pilots and aircrews through the implementation of a new aviation bonus structure and plans to field to Europe an F-16 Fighter Falcon fighter unit in early 2018 in support of the European Reassurance Initiative, the report added.