The Air Force’s wish list for Santa is long...and long ignored...

Three nights before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature will be stirring, and especially not Congress, we’ll find out if St. Nick brings the Air Force a gift in the form of a defense budget or a lump of coal in the stocking with yet another continuing resolution (CR).


Down in Whoville, we’ll wait to see if Congress acts Grinch-like and steals the Air Force’s presents thus delaying needed funds, stopping growth, and preventing them from training and equipping enough to carry out their many missions.



In the meantime, there is still no Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Defense Appropriations bill in sight, and federal government funding ends December 22nd.


The US Constitution directs Congress to raise and support the military. Yet, for the ninth year in a row, they failed to pass a federal budget by the start of the fiscal year (October 1st) leaving the Air Force and the other services without what they need during a time of war.


On December 8th, the first CR expired, and Congress punted with a 2nd CR to extend funding for federal agencies through December 22nd. In a longshot, the House is considering a full defense appropriations bill with yet another CR for the remainder of the federal government through January 19th.


Another CR stalls the Air Force’s ability to grow and equip the Total Force necessary to meet today’s dynamic and growing threats. The Air Force continues funding obsolete programs and is prevented from starting new programs that the combatant commanders need. Resources tighten severely, procurement programs languish, contracts stall, and taxpayers pay billions more in additional costs. Hiring stops. Mission-critical training goes unfulfilled, and required maintenance is left undone. Military families are compelled to deal with inadequate maintenance without upgrades to military installations and are prevented from moving in a timely manner. At a time when the Air Force is trying to grow in order to conduct all of its missions, families are voting with their feet and leaving military life.


In contrast, Congress did pass, and the President signed into law, the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which boosted defense spending by $26.1 billion over the president’s request. Without matching defense appropriations, however, it’s a hollow budget.


Readiness did improve in one area this past year as the Air Force worked diligently to improve the shortage of maintainers, cutting the deficit from 2,400 to 400. Although the numbers improved, readiness indicators fail to measure the necessary years of experience needed.


In other Hill news, AFA’s Chairman of the Board Whit Peters, President Larry Spencer, and I met with Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) to discuss Air Force issues. Former AFA ND State President Jim Simons set up the Hill meetings, and it was a great example of how AFA’s Field and HQ can leverage each other’s networks and messaging to leverage strategic opportunities. Stand by to learn more about collaborative advocacy as we move forward.


AFA also supported a House Long Range Strike Caucus event on Capitol Hill that was attended by several congressional members and personal and professional staffers. B-1 crews captivated the audience with stories of their bombing missions and training.


And, the Mitchell Institute released a powerful op-ed about the need to use real financial data when considering whether to modernize the nuclear triad.


We encourage everyone to recharge because the Air Force truly needs AFA as active wingmen in 2018.


AFA wishes you and your families a very joyous and Happy Holiday Season!


As you celebrate with your families and friends, please remember that we have approximately 200,000 military personnel currently deployed in 150 countries around the world. We send our thoughts and prayers to those deployed away from home and their families during the holidays—and especially to those in harm’s way.


Below are two tributes to the Air Force Family:


Guardian Airmen Deployed So We Can Sleep Soundly


70 Years of the U.S. Air Force in 60 Seconds 


The CBO's "Fuzzy Math" On Nuclear Defense Modernization | 20 Nov 2017 | by David A. Deptula and Peter Huessey, The Mitchell Institute 

An October 2017 report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is garnering headlines by stating that it will cost $1.24 trillion to sustain and modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years.
Much of the media’s reaction to the CBO’s report has been to suggest that modernization costs are out of control and are ratcheting up higher, and that some programs will have to be cut.
But are the CBO’s numbers correct with respect to the actual cost of modernizing the U.S. nuclear deterrent force? Or have they been purposely exaggerated to justify opposition to some or all of the proposed recapitalization of our nuclear forces that now range from over 20 to more than 50 years old?
Read more.
What will keep the government from shutting down?

CBSNews.com11 Dec 2017by Rebecca Shabad

The government funding situation is a mess. Congress averted a shutdown over the weekend, but lawmakers are not out of the woods yet.
Read more.
Pentagon Announces First-Ever Audit Of The Department Of Defense

NPR.org8 Dec 2017by Bill Chappell

"The Defense Department is starting the first agency-wide financial audit in its history," the Pentagon's news service says, announcing that it's undertaking an immense task that has been sought, promised and delayed for years. 
Read more.
CyberPatriot Releases First-Ever Cyber Security Storybook
CyberPatriot program announced today the release of its first published children’s storybook, Sarah the Cyber Hero.
This story is the first known cyber security storybook of its kind promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education among America’s youth.
Rachel Zimmerman, CyberPatriot’s Director of Business Operations said, “Children today are getting online at a young age and they need to understand the importance of cybersecurity and being safe in our connected world.”
Read More.
Air Force Taking Steps to Correct “Systemic Problems” with Criminal Reporting

AirForceMag.com7 Dec 2017by Wilson Brissett

The ongoing Air Force review of its criminal reporting practices has found “the breakdown in reporting was not limited” to the case of the Texas shooter or the “detachment at Holloman Air Force Base” in New Mexico that failed to report his previous military conviction to the FBI, service Secretary Heather Wilson told Congress [last] Wednesday. The investigation has uncovered “systemic problems,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the service is already taking steps to improve its reporting.
Read more.

Air Force slashes maintainer shortfall in 2017
Air Force Times | 4 Dec 17 | by Stephen Losey

Air Force officials said that at the end of fiscal 2017, the service was short about 400 maintainers. That’s 10 percent of the roughly 4,000-maintainer shortfall the Air Force reported at the end of fiscal 2015. By the end of fiscal 2016, the Air Force said it was about 3,400 maintainers short. But there’s still a lot of work to be done to get the maintenance ranks back up to full strength. Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews said it will be five to seven years before the newly hired maintainers are fully seasoned and experienced. Read more.


“We have to cost-effectively modernize so we can meet the challenges of the future,” Wilson said. “The Air Force is facing modernization across the board for the next 10 years for its fighters, bombers and space assets… modernization is something the Air Force is focused on.”

- The Honorable Dr. Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force


“Failing at logistics can bring down the mighty,” said Wilson. “Napoleon, the Germans in their march toward Moscow and Rommel in North Africa, all learned that lesson the hard way.”

- The Honorable Dr. Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force


“The priority is to drive innovation in order to secure our future,” said Wilson.

- The Honorable Dr. Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force


“Logistics and maintenance win wars,” said Wilson. “What new tools will change the air dominance … ask yourself that and then go out and build it.”

- The Honorable Dr. Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force


“I am grateful…we are now very serious about…the replacement of Minuteman III [GBSD]…[and] that we are proceeding to build the bomber [B-21], but I do not call it ‘just-in-time’…I call it ‘late-to-need’…There is a commitment…to proceed with the Long Range Stand-Off [cruise missile] and procurement of a new UH-1N Replacement…I am grateful…because they are all overdue…”

- General Robin Rand, Commander Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC)


"Our biggest need right now is for a higher and stable budget to provide security and solvency for the nation."

- The Honorable Dr. Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force


"If we go through sequester again, a 2,000 pilot shortage will be a dream…People will walk."

- The Honorable Dr. Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force


Oct 1 FY 2018 Began  
Dec 8 1st Fiscal Year 2018 Continuing Resolution (CR) Expired  
Dec 22 2nd Fiscal Year 2018 Continuing Resolution (CR) Expires  
Jan 17 Mitchell Dinner with Gen David Goldfein, Chief of Staff, US Air Force  
Jan 18 AFA Breakfast, Capitol Hill Edition with Matt Donovan, Under Secretary of  the Air Force  
Jan 30 State of the Union Address  
Feb 5 FY 2019 President’s Budget (PB) Release Expected  
Feb 21-23 Air Warfare Symposium, Orlando, FL  
Sep 17-19 Air, Space & Cyber Conference, Gaylord National Hotel, National Harbor  

If you have questions, please contact:

Keith Zuegel
Senior Director, Government Relations
Air Force Association (AFA)


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