The US Air Force (USAF) is due to be $2.8bn short of what it needs for operations and maintenance during the last five months of the year's budget, under a year-long continuing resolution (CR), according to chief of staff general David L Goldfein.
Goldfein and his fellow service chiefs have called on Congress to approve an appropriation bill to overcome the impacts of operating the service under a CR.
A CR has already funded USAF for six months, thereby affecting the USAF's ability to sustain warfighting capacity, improve readiness, modernise the force, and invest in research and development to maintain decisive advantage over near-peer competitors.
Speaking before the House Committee on Armed Services, Goldfein said: “It’s unfortunate that we are now discussing yet another extended continuing resolution, which has already been said is the equivalent of a mini-sequestration round.
“We still haven’t recovered from round one.”
If the CR were to last for all of fiscal 2017, flying squadrons that have not deployed or are preparing to deploy would be grounded in June.
The budget uncertainty would also result in the cancellation of readiness exercises and termination of modernisation efforts.
It is also believed to impact flight training in July.
Goldfein added: “As a service chief, I have many obligations, but one remains paramount.
“Every airman we send into harm’s way must be properly organised, trained, equipped and led to succeed in their mission, and we must take care of their families while they’re gone. This is our moral obligation. A year-long CR makes meeting this obligation extremely difficult.”
Image: US Air Force chief of staff general David Goldfein testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on the impacts of operating the service under a year-long continuing resolution. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash.