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Press Briefing by Major General James F. Martin Jr. on the President's Fiscal Year 2018 Defense Budget for the Air Force

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Major General James F. Martin Jr., Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget; Carolyn Gleason, Air Force Deputy Director for Budget
May 23, 2017
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STAFF: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm Captain Hope Cronin, Air Force public affairs. Thank you for being here today with us.

We'll begin our briefing in just a moment. First, just to reiterate ground rules. One question, one follow-up, please, so we can get through as many questions as possible. Additionally, I'll give a final question towards the end.

As a reminder, tomorrow at 9:30 in the morning, we'll have the Air Force space budget rollout. It is a separate budget rollout. If you'd like more information about that, please find me afterwards and I'll give you further details.

Without any further ado, ladies and gentleman, General Martin and Ms. Gleason.

MAJOR GENERAL JAMES F. MARTIN JR.: Great. Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Major General Jim Martin, Air Force director of budget. And I'm joined by my deputy, Ms. Carolyn Gleason.

So we appreciate the opportunity to provide highlights of our F.Y. '18 budget.

Next slide.

Let me get right to the message and start with the bottom line up front. I think what you'll see in this budget that our message and our budget is consistent with what we've done over the last two years. For the last 70 years, though, American airmen have always been there breaking barriers, dominating the high ground, and providing unmatched global vigilance, reach and power as part of the world's greatest joint warfighting team.

The unique capabilities that we bring are foundational to the joint force and our nation. But 26 years of continuous combat operations and budget uncertainty have taken their toll. Since 2014, the world has changed and it continues to remain very unstable. Today, Air Force capabilities are in high demand, and that demand will only continue to grow.

To meet the demands now and in the future, we believe our F.Y. '18 budget request sets the conditions to improve readiness, field critical capability gaps, and build future lethality, but it will take time and it will take additional resources.

To be successful, we will need an increase over BCA caps as well as predictable, sufficient and flexible budgets so we can recover readiness and build a more capable and lethal force for the future. Next slide.

As always, we work hard to make every dollar count. So we use a very deliberate process to link resources with strategic guidance, combatant commander expectations and the requirements of the joint force.

Our FY18 request is based on guidance from the secretary of defense and his commitment to strengthen our joint team by improving war fighter readiness, addressing critical shortfalls while building a larger, more capable and more lethal force.

Our budget request follows that guidance and puts priority on investing in airmen, readiness, combat air forces, nuclear deterrents, space and cyber capabilities as well as infrastructure -- all critical components for the joint force and the security of our nation. Next slide.

Getting this right is important because Air Force capabilities are critical to the joint force.

Our challenge in a fiscally constrained environment is to maintain balance across all five core missions.

As I said, American airmen active, guard, reserve and civilians are always there, dominating the high ground, leading and flawlessly executing our five core missions.

We are Americans 911 force, able to deliver full spectrum effects anywhere on the globe in a matter of hours.

We ensure freedom from attack and the ability to attack at a time and place of our choosing. And the ability to operate freely in both peace time and war time. We are the eyes and ears of the joint force.

We provide secure, survivable and timely command and control capabilities over multiple domains while at the same time protecting the homeland and ensuring a strong nuclear deterrence.

To meet current and future demands we must invest in capabilities to fight and win today but also the capabilities needed to fight and win 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now. Next slide.

On the last slide you saw a number of platforms, but it's our people that make us the world's greatest air force.

Behind every one of those weapons systems are airmen who support and develop, maintain and operate those platforms, delivering the unique capabilities that we provide to the joint force.

Our airmen remain engaged 24/7, 365 days a year, at home and abroad. As we speak, more than 100,000 airmen stand watch in deployed locations around the world.

All the while thousands of airmen protect the homeland, fight from home station and stand alert 24/7 supporting two legs of our nation's nuclear triad.

What you see on this slide are highlights of what are airmen are do - what our airmen bring to the fight. They are foundational to successful joint operations around the world. They are always there at the beginning, the middle and the end of every operation.

They're doing great things for our nation in very tough conditions. So it's our moral obligation to ensure all airmen we send into harm's way are properly trained, equipped and led so they can be successful as part of the joint team.

To help, we are working to revitalize squadrons across the Air Force. It's the most essential level of command, where readiness is generated and sustained, where airmen and families thrive and where the missions of the Air Force succeed. Next slide.

America's Air Force is still great, but 26 years of continuous combat operations have taken their toll. However, America's expectations of our Air Force are still shaped by the incredible success of Operation Desert Storm.

But the reality is we are not the same Air Force we were back then. Back then we had 134 combat-coded fighter squadrons. Today we have 55.

Today we have 30 percent fewer people, 37 percent fewer aircraft, and the average age of our aircraft is 27 years. And our readiness level remains challenged at a time when we're busier in our history. All of this while the world remains unstable and the demand for Air Force capabilities continues to grow.

Since August 2014, the Air Force has led the global response against violent extremist organizations. And we remain heavily engaged in Afghanistan. We're facing a resurgent Russia, a rising China, an unpredictable North Korea and multiple hot spots around the globe.

The capability gap is closing fast. Advanced air defenses and radars are becoming more common. And competitors continue to invest in new technology in their own fifth-generation aircraft. Space and cyber domains are becoming more congested and contested.

And what we've learned is that future conflicts and contentions will be transregional, multifunctional, multi-domain, and will require fast action by joint and coalition forces. Our joint team, our allies and our nation expect the Air Force to respond quickly with overwhelming force to dominate the high ground throughout every phase of every conflict.

Next slide.

This chart illustrates some of the challenges I described on a previous chart, and the budget uncertainty we have faced over the last five years. That budget uncertainty, sequestration and operating at less-than-planned budget levels have forced us to make tough choices which resulted in lost capability, lost capacity and reduced readiness.

At the same time, the world changed in 2014 and continues to remain unstable and more complex. All driving increased demand and mission growth in ISR, space and cyber.

So, we are grateful for the modest short-term relief provided by Congress in the last Bipartisan Budget Act, and the passage of the FY 2017 appropriation, which addressed many of our critical shortfalls. Looking ahead to FY 2018, we believe our request sets the foundation to improve readiness and invest in capabilities needed for the future.

However, FY 2018 is a pivotal year because the Budget Control Act and sequestration remain the law. Without relief in BCA caps, it will drive a choice between ready and capable now or ready and capable in the future. It's a false choice because we need both to be successful.

Next slide.

This slide highlights those choices. What we can do if the FY 2018 budget is supported versus what could happen if we were forced to absorb large reductions.

As you can see in the green box, the FY 2018 budget request allows us to sustain capacity to support combatant commanders' most urgent requirements. It funds readiness components to support readiness recovery. And invests in our people by filling critical capability gaps, and providing additional pay and entitlements.

It allows us to fund munitions to capacity to support current ops and improve inventory requirements. It will strengthen our nuclear enterprise and advance investments in space and cyber. We can invest in our top recapitalization programs and maintain airlift capacity for worldwide demand.

Finally, we can invest in infrastructure for new mission bed-downs, training and readiness as we train and operate from bases at home and abroad.

However, if the Air Force has to absorb large reductions, impacts to readiness, future modernization, infrastructure and people cannot be avoided. That's where the money is, and those are the accounts that you can dial-down quickly. To pay the bill, we would have to consider all options such as reducing force structure, delaying even more modernization programs, shortchanging readiness accounts, and delaying investments in our strategic assets such as nuclear, space, ISR, and cyber.

Infrastructure would continue to suffer as we would be forced to take risk, an action we've repeated since F.Y. '13 sequestration. And worst of all, it would impact people, both their quality of life and their quality of service. The bottom line, all these choices are bad. We simply can't afford the risk of returning to BCA.

So we need predictable, stable budgets with sufficient funding so we can plan for the Air Force that we need now and in the future.

Next slide.

Now, let's take a look at the highlights of our F.Y. '18 budget. For comparison, the bar on the left is our F.Y. '17 enacted budget. The bar on the right is our F.Y. '18 budget request. It represents our total force budget to include active duty, guard and reserve components. The top block is what we refer to as non-blue, which is the portion of the Air Force budget that is managed by other departments or agencies.

The remainder of the budget, or the Air Force blue budget baseline, is the focus for today's brief. In the brackets, you'll see the Air Force budget for F.Y. '18 is approximately $132.4 billion, which is roughly 23 percent of DOD's F.Y. '18 budget. Of the $132.4 billion, approximately $80 billion or 60 percent supports day-to-day operations.

Military and civilian pay make up 52 percent of the day-to-day operating costs; flying hours, weapons system sustainment, and missions executed at our major commands total 39 percent of the funding. Facility requirements and installation support represent the remaining 9 percent of the total operating costs.

The blue and the gray boxes at the bottom summarize our top procurement and largest RDT&E programs. These programs total approximately $29 billion or about 55 percent of our investment accounts. So I'll go back to what I said on the previous slide. So you can see that the largest portions of our budget are in people, readiness and modernization. So when forced to take large reductions, we simply cannot avoid impacts in these areas.

Now, we'll look at each appropriation, starting with military personnel. The Air Force's number one priority remains people. Growing end-strength is crucial for readiness recovery, and readiness depends on the contributions of the total force, active, guard and reserve. Our request grows total force end-strength to approximately 502,000, a total force increase of 5,800 from F.Y. '17. It increases the active duty force by 4,100 with an increase of 1,700 for the guard and reserve.

This budget begins to address the pilot shortage by adding training capacity in our formal training units, while also ingesting our incentive pay structure. It will provide the personnel to support two new F-16 flying training units and other initiatives to increase pilot production and training. We will increase pilot retention bonuses from $25,000 to $35,000 per year, the first increase since 1999.

This budget will allow us to continue our progress in tackling maintenance manpower shortfalls, while also addressing critical capability gaps in critical career fields, such as nuclear, cyber and the RPA enterprise. To help with the retention, we will continue to offer incentive pays and bonuses to encourage experienced airmen to stay. We will also continue higher tenure extensions for personnel in key career fields to further retain experience.

Additionally, this budget allows us to add 200 recruiters and personnel to right-size the training pipeline to support over 29,000 enlisted accessions. Furthermore, with our chief priority to revitalize our squadrons, this budget also adds over 200 commander support staff personnel to ease the burden of additional duties, which allows airmen to focus on their core mission.

Finally, the F.Y. '18 budget requests a 2.1 pay raise for our airmen, while also funding the new blended retirement system, which will be effective 1 January 2018. Next slide.

The F.Y. '18 operational maintenance budget prioritizes readiness recovery and provides funding for vital support to our airmen and their families. The O&M request fully supports the Air Force top priority to grow total force of military and strength by funding recruiting, infrastructure and training efforts aimed at addressing critical shortfalls discussed on the previous slide.

As we have said over the last few years, readiness recovery is not a short-term fix. It will take years to fully rebuild. To keep us on the path to readiness recovery, we will continue funding flying hours to executable levels and weapons system sustainment to mirror capacity. We also continue to invest in ranges, simulators and critical skills training, such as combat flag exercises and advanced weapons tools.

To go along with the manpower, the requests funds O&M requirements for two additional F-16 training squadrons at Holloman Air Force Base. Last year, we began an effort to free-up skilled maintainers to transition to the F-35 fleet by contracting maintenance support at some of our active duty training units. This budget continues that effort. This budget also support 60 RPA combat lines, with a surge capability of an additional 10 government-owned, contractor-operated, combat lines funded with OCO.

This request fully funds cyber mission teams. In F.Y. '18, we are on-track to grow from 30 to 39 operational teams. We'll continue to fund ICBM sustainment, key NC3 upgrades, and continue our commitment to advance space capabilities.

It helps fix aging infrastructure by funding facility sustainment at 80 percent and restoration and modernization repair at 1.9 percent for the plant replacement value. This budget also takes care of our airmen and their families. We improve a number of quality of life military family programs, increase personnel at our family support centers, and fund 961 civilian positions on the command support staff to support the chief of staff priority to reinvigorate squadrons, complementing the 200 military funded in the MILPERS appropriation.

This budget also funds 449 dedicated sexual assault prevention and response personnel. Finally, this budget supports a 1.9 percent pay raise for our civilian airmen. Next slide. Our -- our FY '18 procurement budget preserves our top modernization programs, sustains our space procurement strategy, invests in the nuclear enterprise, and funds munitions to capacity.

This budget procures 46 F-35s, 15 KC-46s, and five MC-130Js and two AC-130Js while also continuing modernization efforts for our fourth and fifth generation aircraft. For munitions, as we've discussed, we remain challenged by the pace of current operations. Therefore, for preferred munitions such as JDAM, SDB-I and Hellfire, we will fund to capacity between base and OCO and begin to replenish our inventories.

For readiness improvements, we'll invest in upgrading and expanding combat training range capabilities. We also provide funding for battlefield airmen so they will have the equipment they need to remain agile and lethal. As space becomes more congested and contested, the Air Force remains committed to advancing our capabilities to operate in that environment.

FY '18 is the last of the block buy for SBIRS-GEO 5 and 6, and we'll begin long lead procurement for SBIRS-GEO 7 and 8. This budget also supports our goal of maintaining the shared access to space with funding for three competitive launch opportunities. So the next slide shows our major procurement quantities. These are the planned procurement quantities for the budget which show both base and OCO, both aircraft and space procurement quantities remain fairly constant.

However, based on current demand, as we talked about on the previous slide, we'll put emphasis on replenishing our weapons inventory. Continuing what we start in FY '17, again, we are buying preferred munitions to capacity. Next slide. For research development tests and evaluation appropriation, you know, the Air Force -- you know, innovation has always been at the core of the Air Force identity.

And it's -- it's been a big part of our history. So what RDT&E funding allows us to do is to take an idea to -- to leap an idea to technology we'll use every day. So just imagine our world without GPS. As I mentioned, the capability gap is closing and we must continue to invest in game-changing technology such as hypersonics, directed energy, unmanned autonomous systems, and nanotechnology.

To ensure our nuclear forces remain capable and credible, this request provides funding for future nuclear capabilities with significant increases to the long-range standoff weapon and the ground-based strategic deterrence. In order to combat the cyber threat, we are investing in an offensive and defensive initiatives to train and equip our cyber forces with capabilities that they need to defend the nation.

This request also funds our next generation bomber as the program progresses into detailed design. The B-21 Raider will provide critical operational flexibility across a wide range of military options, providing both conventional and nuclear capabilities.

This budget request also invests in the Adaptive Engine Transition Program, a program that will deliver revolutionary next-generation propulsion systems for multiple combat aircraft applications.

Finally, our request increases operational systems development to upgrade fourth- and fifth-gen legacy aircraft, such as the F-22.

Next slide.

For our military construction, we are focusing on new weapon system bed-downs, strengthening the nuclear enterprise, and providing facilities for central training requirements. This budget supports combatant commanders' highest construction priorities, and improves our posture of forces in Europe, and enhance Asia-Pacific resiliency.

This slide highlights the major projects for active guard and reserve. The overall Air Force's FY-18 MILCON budget represents a balanced approach to ensure critical infrastructure and requirements meet mission needs, operational timelines, and enhance our capability to respond globally to man-made -- to man-made and natural threats.

So ready -- ready and resilient installations are a critical part of -- of Air Force operations. We have said that infrastructure is a readiness issue, and since FY-12, we have deferred a number of current mission projects. So with additional funding, we could execute up to $265 million in new construction. [Sic: $437 million in new construction]

Next slide -- For the overseas contingency operations, your Air Force is leading the fight against violent extremist organizations. We have dropped over 56,000 munitions, over 70 percent of the total. MQ-1 and MQ-9 aircrews have flown more than 351,000 hours. We fly an average of more than 70 sorties per day, and participate in 70 percent of coalition airstrikes. This year's OCO request is $13.9 billion, and supports the efforts on the slide by funding flying hours, weapon systems sustainment, and day-to-day operating costs for six enduring locations in the CENTCOM AOR.

In addition to the munitions buys included in our baseline budget request, OCO is requested to replace nearly 23,000 preferred munitions.

And lastly, this request funds MILCON airfield projects in AFRICOM [Sic: CENTCOM], and supports the European Reassurance Initiative by investing in critical infrastructure such as airfields, aircraft hangers, and munitions storage facilities.

Next slide -- As I mentioned earlier, the FY-18 budget request sets the foundation to improve readiness, fixed capability gaps, and improve future lethality. But as I mentioned, the demand for Air Force capabilities continues to exceed available resources. So this slide just highlights some of those areas where additional resources could be applied, and illustrates the need for predictable, sufficient and flexible budgets in the future.

Next slide -- So to conclude today's briefing, here are the highlights that I want to leave you with:

For the past 70 years, American airman are always there, dominating the high ground, delivering global vigilance reach and power. But the demand for current and future airpower, air and space power, exceeds supply. The Air Force's FY-18 budget is our best attempt to apply limited resources to build a more capable and lethal force, one that is ready today and one that is ready tomorrow.

As I said, this will be a long term effort. To be successful we will need relief from BCA caps as well as predictable, sufficient and flexible budgets.

The importance of airpower has not changed in the last 70 years and the demand for air and space power will continue to grow.

So, we must be prepared to dominate the skies above the Earth. Our airmen and our joint team deserve it and our nation expects it. Next slide.

So, as always, we provide you the website to our link that has all our budget projects, our -- our products to include the budget overview book, this budget brief as well as all our detailed justification material.

So, with that, we'll open it up for questions.

Tony ?.

Q: Quick one -- couple quick ones. The presidential aircraft program -- $431 million for R&D. What does that buy and is that a reduction from what was projected last year for '18?

DEPUTY DIRECTOR CAROLYN GLEASON: So there's no content change in PAR. It reflects the current acquisition strategy (inaudible) and -- and the new requirements baseline -- and it's based -- it's informed by Boeing's risk reduction activity so it's basically a change in a cost estimate and reflects the same content.

Q: (off mic) looked back at last year versus '18 it -- it would be a higher number and...

MS. GLEASON: That's correct.

Q: This reflects a more refined estimate?

MS. GLEASON: It's a rephrasing, yes, and you'll see that a couple of places.

So one thing the Air Force does is every time we get new cost estimates we lay that into our budget. We review our -- correct -- we review our investment programs continually through the year but really in support of the big budget activities and so you'll see that in a couple of our programs.

Q: (off mic) There's a little footnote there that said you're moving like a billion dollars of R&D -- O&M money to R&D to pay for 10,000 employees, what's that about and doesn't that take away $1.1 billion for R&D programs?

GEN. MARTIN: No it's -- well, no it's really budget neutral. All we're doing is moving about 10,000 employees that do -- that do RDT&E work, acquisition professionals, from -- from the O&M account into that appropriation.

MS. GLEASON: It was just a realignment.

GEN. MARTIN: Just a realignment.

MS. GLEASON: It's really getting our entire acquisition workforce together because our -- our folks out at space and missile center and our folks in the F-35 were already paid out of the R&D account. The remainder of our acquisition core was in O&M, so it was disjointed.

This gives us some flexibility, it aligns them better with the work that they perform which does...

(CROSSTALK)

Q: (off mic)

GEN. MARTIN: No.

MS. GLEASON: We're not -- no -- no -- no. It was a realignment, the money moved with the people...

GEN. MARTIN: No. Right.

Q: Oh the money moved with the people?

MS. GLEASON: The money moved with the people.

GEN. MARTIN: Yes, because you'll see on the O&M slide there's a -- there's a decrease that -- in RTD&E there's an increase...

MS. GLEASON: It's a plus.

GEN. MARTIN: ... for the same amount. Yes, you bet.

So let's go with you ?.

Q: Yes, Courtney Albon with Inside the Air Force".

There's a -- a significant increase in B-21 RTD&E, is that -- is that just a shifting of funds that were reduced or shifted in the past or is that actually a ramp up in development?

MS. GLEASON: So B-21 from the '17 budget to the '18 budget, there's not much change, it's just a natural progression of the program from '17 enacted to '18, it's moving into detailed design, there was a plan to ramp up in the programs. It's fully funded and progressing like we would expect it to.

Q: Can you also address the increase in next generation air dominance funding? There's a significant growth there and what that funding will – will do?

GEN. MARTIN: Yeah, that funds a study and analysis to really look at how we get after future threats. So looking at capabilities that we need that we'll know, again, well into the future in some form by Air Force's 2030 superiority study that we're doing.

And, again, it goes back to what we said earlier, we have to be ready for not only what we need today but we better be ready for the potential threats, you know, 10, 20 years from now, because we know the capability gap is closing.

So this allows us to go out and think of new ways of doing business and again, I go back to the GPS example. You know, just imagine a world without GPS. We need to invest in technology that when it shows up, people go, ‘where'd that come from’ and that's what we're trying to do.

Q: (off mic) Two quick questions. So in the document that was sent out, there is a mention that the F-15s needs a SLEP of specifically for the fuselage longerons. But I am -- the language is a little bit unclear. I'm wondering if that means that you committed to doing that SLEP or you're just sort of noting that the need is in there?

And then my second question is there's also a line that says you're extending the service life of the U-2, does that mean you're keeping it past 2019? When is the -- the -- the new retirement date now?

GEN. MARTIN: Yes, so I think you know, again getting back to our messages that you know, the world has changed so we're trying to maintain capacity and capability. So we're dedicated just to making sure that the F-15 fleet remains viable and survivable and capable you know, in this new environment. And regarding the U-2, we plan to keep that platform well into the future.

Q: So what -- so what -- I mean previously, you've given a hard retirement date, when is -- is there not a...

(CROSSTALK)

GEN. MARTIN: There is not a -- there is not a retirement date for the U-2 in this budget.

Q: (off mic) For the foreseeable future?

GEN. MARTIN: For the foreseeable future, that's correct because again, that's a capability that we need and we also need the capacity, as well.

Q: So why the change, you were going to retire it and now you're not going to retire it?

GEN. MARTIN: Well, I think if you look back to FY '15, if you look at that chart that has all the, you know, the budget uncertainty that we were faced; we were forced to pay a significant bill. And if you remember back in FY '15, to pay a $5 billion bill, we looked to draw down the force, we took risk in munitions, we looked at force structure reductions.

But that was in February of '14 when we submitted that budget. Well, the world changed in August of 2014, so we -- in the '16 and '17, we requested a budget that we need to meet today's threat, as well as try to maintain the balance for the future. So it really gets back to maintaining capability and capacity that we need for the future.

Q: Because they were going to replace it with the Global Hawk with upgraded sensors.

GEN. MARTIN: That's correct.

Q: So and that seemed to satisfy a lot of people, is that -- is it just that you have more money so you can keep both around longer or...

(CROSSTALK)

GEN. MARTIN: Right or -- exactly, with more resources, we can keep both around and we -- and we need both to meet the demand for ISR. Yes?

Q: Paul Shinkman with U.S. News and World Report.

One of the biggest proportional changes in the entire DOD OCO Budget was the Air Force and military construction budget. Can you talk about why the big change and where is that construction going to take place?

GEN. MARTIN: Yes, we can. In fact, lets get you the details exactly where that construction's going to take place. But you know our overall budget for -- you're talking about the European Reassurance Initiative, right?

STAFF: It wasn't specified...

Q: All right, so that...

GEN. MARTIN: OK.

Q: ...is that where its -- its going?

GEN. MARTIN: A portion of that is, but there's other -- there's other projects that are going around to support the enduring locations we have and I think I mentioned that we're also investing in some air fields in AFRICOM, too [Sic: CENTCOM]. But let us give you the detailed list of those projects after this briefing.

MS. GLEASON: We could just get details.

GEN. MARTIN: Yes, sir?

Q: Steve Losey, the Air Force Times.

The budget overview referred to the Air Force seeking to reduce the dwell-deploy ratio for -- for airmen to increase training at home station. Can you provide anymore detail on what kind of dwell-deploy ratio you're looking at for -- for what kind of airmen?

GEN. MARTIN: Yes, so we're doing a number of initiatives to try to -- and again, our biggest issue is really the pilot shortage right now and the maintenance manpower shortfall. So, if we get after some of that, that's going to increase the deploy-to-dwell, and give our folks time to train, and they'll deploy, but they'll also give them time to rest.

So we're trying to ramp-up pilot production from about 1,200 to 1,400 per year. We mentioned the two training units that we're standing up. We're bringing in more maintainers. We're decreasing that shortfall, which will provide more aircraft availability. Again, looking at more opportunities to train. We talk about the relief in the support staff in the squadrons, which will allow pilots more time to train; maintainers to be out on the flight line.

So all those things will help in that effort. And it's not just in -- with the pilots and the maintainers, but it's in the RPA enterprise, all those critical peripherals that have been stressed with that -- with that problem. We're trying to get after all of that.

Q: (unidentified speaker) So, the overall DOD program acquisition costs by weapons system booklet indicated that the Air Force is buying two JLTVs this year. Can you talk a little bit about why that's happening? Is that like a proof of concept? Or is the Air Force officially joining that program now?

MS. GLEASON: I will have to get you an answer. I don't know the answer to that. So we'll -- we'll take it for the record.

Q: OK. But if I could just have one other question.

So, could I follow up to Lara’s question about the F-15 SLEP. So is that something that if there is a FYDP that we see, will that be in the FYDP? Or is that something that is planned to do?

GEN. MARTIN: So again, I think, you know, I think that what you'll see in our budget and in the long term is that we want to keep those aircraft viable. So, you know, for example, in this -- in this budget, there is approximately $800 million for F-15 upgrades, modifications. You know, we're committed to that. Because again, it's a capacity and capability issue for us that we have right now.

Q: So is the SLEP funded?

GEN. MARTIN: Yes.

MS. GLEASON: Yes.

GEN. MARTIN: Yes, it is.

Let's go in the back here.

Q: Hey, Amy McCullough, Air Force Magazine.

The F.Y. '18 budget funds eight less Reapers than last year's budget. And General Holmes has said that the Air Force actually needs -- continues to see like 20 funded each year in order to maintain the fleet, but F.Y. '18 only has 16. So, what's the reason for the decrease in funding there? And is that enough to maintain what you need?

GEN. MARTIN: So, let's get back to you on that.

MS. GLEASON: Yeah, I'll have to.

GEN. MARTIN: We'll get back go you on that one. But any type of, you know, any type of decrease in quantity really has to do with, again, making tough trades against balancing across those five core issues. OK? Because if you go back to that slide, the five core missions that we provide are critical to the joint force.

And we provide unique and many capabilities. And so again, trying to maintain that balance sometimes forces us into tough tradeoffs. But let me give you a good answer to that question. OK?

Q: Last year, the flying hour budget was funded at 90 percent. And a big part of that was because the Air Force didn't have the maintainers to create the sorties needed to get to 100 percent. So what is the executable level this year?

GEN. MARTIN: So again, we're funding flying hours to what we can execute. And that's about 92 percent of the requirement. And again, every year as we address the pilot shortfall, every year as we bring on more maintainers and as we retain people, you know, that's going to get better and better.

But that's a key element to our readiness recovery, so we will continue to fund flying hours, weapons sustainment, to what we can execute.

STAFF: Ladies and gentlemen, this is the final question.

GEN. MARTIN: Over here?

Q: Pat Host with Jane's.

The numbers for RDT&E for you guys say -- in your briefing book say 23.9 to 24.7. But in the overall DOD book it says 25 to 30. I was wondering if you could explain the discrepancy.

GEN. MARTIN: Yes. I think we're going to have to go back and reconcile that number for you. But certain we can talk about the major program changes...

MS. GLEASON: Yes. We'll have to reconcile with OSD. We got a heads up on that outside the door. We know our numbers are R&D blue budget. I don't know what's in there. And I'll have to get with them to see.

Q: All right. Thanks.

MS. GLEASON: Just to make sure.

STAFF: Ladies and gentlemen, that's all the time we have today. If you have any follow-up questions, come and let myself or Ann know. We'd be happy to follow up with you.