The US Air Force (USAF) is seeking $10bn more than what is provided by sequestration-level funding in 2016 to meet the demand for capabilities across all three of its warfighting domains, including air, space and cyber space.
US Air Force secretary Deborah Lee James said the rising demand for air force capabilities has prompted the USAF to take its strongest stand to date against sequestration.
James noted that the USAF is currently engaged in joint operations worldwide, including participation in the fight against the Islamic State in the Middle East, contributing to the maintenance of a strong NATO alliance or deterring possible conflict in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Or it might be humanitarian disasters anywhere around the world, or the very important mission of protecting Americans right here at home.
"Now, $10bn more represents the difference between a force that our Air Force combatant commanders require and our nation expects, as compared to an Air Force that, with $10bn less, will not be able to meet the defence strategy – period.
"We have said many, many times that sequestration, if it is implemented in [Fiscal Year] ’16, will damage our national security."
The additional funding is believed to enable the USAF to better support its top priorities, which include safeguarding US citizens, striking the right balance between maintaining current readiness level and preparing for future anticipated threats, while doing justice to every taxpayer-provided dollar.
According to James, the air force’s readiness level is also not up to the mark, and ‘especially not for what we call the high-end fight that we might, one day, have to fight.’
Noting that she is aware of existing difficult budget environment, James said the air force is under fiscal pressure and requires more funding to perform its missions.