Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein yesterday testified before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations about the Air Force’s proposed fiscal year 2019 budget.
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The proposed budget “aligns with the National Defense Strategy,” Wilson said.
She said the budget also recognizes and reflects that the United States is experiencing “a more competitive and dangerous international security environment than we have faced in decades.”
Wilson added, “We have returned to great power competition and the central challenge to security and prosperity is one we must meet. That’s what you expect of your Air Force and of your joint force, and we’re here to deliver.”
According to Wilson, there are “two bold moves” in this budget.
“The first is accelerating defendable space. We need to deter, defend and prevail against anyone who seeks to deny our ability to freely operate in space,” Wilson said.
“The second is the shift to multi-domain operations,” she added. “We are proposing to change the way we do command, control and communication on the battlefield. A mission we perform for the joint force and particularly for the ground forces.”
In addition to the two bold moves, the Air Force will continue to prioritize the readiness of the force to win any fight, any time, Wilson said.
“Let there be no doubt, your airmen stand ready to defend the homeland, deter nuclear conflict through nuclear readiness, own the high ground with air and space superiority and project global vigilance, reach and power with our joint teammates, allies and partners,” Goldfein said.
Fiscal year 2019 funds will expand pilot training and address experience shortfalls, continue incentive pay and bonuses, improve administrative support at the squadron level and support flying hours to executable levels, officials said. The funding also will address gaps in space, nuclear, cyber and intelligence career fields and support battlefield airmen -- the service’s air-to-ground integration force.
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“Airmen participate in some way in every mission the joint force performs,” Goldfein said. “We operate from below the surface in a remote missile silo to the outer reaches of space, and everywhere in between. We can do all of this only with the unwavering support of the American people and the leadership and support of Congress.
The general added, “This Air Force budget request allows our nation to confront today’s threats and moves us toward the Air Force we need to face tomorrow’s challenges.”
The Air Force’s fiscal 2019 budget request of $156.3 billion builds on the progress made in 2018 to restore the readiness of the force, increase lethality and modernize in a cost-effective manner, officials said.