The Air Force would use its budget request of $156.3 billion for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and ending next Sept. 30 to foster readiness, augment total strength by 4,700 airmen, modernize the inventory, and maintain air and space superiority, Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein told members of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee during an April 11 hearing on Capitol Hill.
Congressional support for the request would be key to fulfilling the goals he outlined, Goldfein told the panel.
“The Air Force requires the right size and mix of agile capabilities to compete, deter, and win … brought to bear by airmen steeped in the business of joint and combined warfare,” Goldfein said in prepared remarks. “Future wars will be won by those who observe, orient, decide and act faster than adversaries in an integrated way across domains — sea, air, space and cyberspace.”
Anticipating that the increase in manpower should help alleviate the service’s pilot shortage, Goldfein said that the $8.7 billion of the budget would fund 1.5 million flying hours — 1.2 for peacetime training, and another 300,000 for overseas contingency operations. He said that the service plans to spend $1.8 billion to replenish declining inventories of munitions. The budget request would cover funding of training ranges, simulators, instructors, and infrastructure as well.
The proposed 2.6-percent increase in basic pay would go far in improving the quality of life for airmen and their families, as would increases in housing and subsistence allowances, Goldfein said.
Modernization initiatives call for 48 more F-35 fighters, 15 KC-46 tankers, and more progress in development of the B-21 strategic bomber. The service also plans to make decisions on the T-X advanced trainer aircraft, and a replacement for the aging fleet of UH-1 helicopters.
Goldfein also told the panel that the service plans to review the ponderous amount of instructions, duties and computer-training regimens within the next two years, in hopes of reducing the bureaucracy and streamlining the acquisition process.
Another review will encompass every program in the service, he said.
“Everything we do is on the table during this review,” Goldfein told the panel.