AFA’s Legislative Priorities

At the heart of AFA’s mission is this phrase: “Promote dominant U.S. Air & Space Forces as the foundation of a strong National Defense.”

Widely respected in Congress, AFA works to influence and educate lawmakers on legislative issues affecting the Air and Space Forces. Airmen and Guardians face rising challenges around the world at a time when our Air and Space Forces are older, smaller, and less ready than at any point in history. Over the past two decades, the Air Force’s capability and capacity to fight has declined in significant ways, as planes aged, and readiness eroded. The combination of rising global challenges and declining readiness put our national security at risk.  

The United States must reverse this decline with robust investment in both advanced military capabilities and in increased capacity to wage sustained military operations. Collectively, the solutions outlined here will help our nation remain the world’s leading air and space power for years to come. 

AFA’s Fiscal 2024 Legislative Priorities

1. Defending US Military Installations in Asia and Europe from Missile and Air Attack

A recent Rand report stated the Chinese missile force “contains the most formidable arsenal of conventional ballistic missiles in the world.” In addition, one can see how the Russian military has used its considerable missile force in Ukraine. Therefore, the question arises if the U.S. has sufficient forces to shield our deployed forces from missile and air attack.

The concerns underlying this proposal have only increased since Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall has called for the dispersal of our forces through his Agile Combat Employment initiatives. Simply put, are we able to defend our dispersed forces when satellites continuously observe even the most remote corners of the world?

Therefore, this legislation will authorize a report from the Secretary of Defense to determine if our U.S. forces and installations in the Pacific and Europe are adequately defended from hypersonic, ballistic, cruise missile and air attack, and to devise a plan to ensure that objective is met for the remainder of this decade.

2. Food and Economic Security for Servicemembers and their Families

The Advocacy Subcommittee emphasized in their legislative proposals economic and housing security for our servicemembers. This proposal addresses both.

A recent Pentagon survey stated that 120,000 servicemembers have gone hungry recently because of lack of food. This figure does not include servicemembers’ families or reservists.

This proposal offers a partial remedy by changing the way a servicemember’s income is calculated.  Specifically, by not including the Basic Allowance for Housing or BAH in calculating income, more servicemembers will qualify for additional pay under the Basic Needs Allowance or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formally known as Food Stamps.

3. Space National Guard

National Guardsmen already provide an indispensable core capability for the Space Force and Space Command. Specifically, “…Airman assigned to 16 units across seven states and one territory provide 60 percent of [our] … space electronic war [capabilities], [and] 50 percent of [our] protected satellite communications.”

Clearly, National Guard personnel are fundamental to the success of the Space Force’s mission. The logical solution is to place such capabilities under the control of a single service. Therefore, this proposal creates a Space National Guard.

4. Prohibiting the Retirement of F-22s and Authorizing Modernization

Last year, AFA contributed to the effort which prevented, by statute, the retirement of the Block 20 F-22s.  Unfortunately, the President’s Budget, once again, seeks the retirement of 33 Block 20 F-22s just as Premier Xi Jinping instructed the Chinese military to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027. Therefore, maintaining and modernizing our F-22 force is a timely decision until the Next Generation Air Dominance fighter becomes available in sufficient numbers to meet these growing threats.