Keith’s Congressional Corner

June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018

Keith’s Congressional Corner

“The most fundamental paradox is that, if we’re never to use force, we must be prepared to use it and to use it successfully. We Americans don’t want war, and we don’t start fights. We don’t maintain a strong military force to conquer or coerce others. The purpose of our military is simple and straightforward: We want to prevent war by deterring others from the aggression that causes war. If our efforts are successful, we will have peace and never be forced into battle. There will never be a need to fire a single shot. That’s the paradox of deterrence.”

– President Ronald Reagan

Work continues in Congress on next Fiscal Year’s (FYs) spending bills. The Bipartisan Budget Act increased the spending caps for FYs 2018 and 2019, so passage of the bills is likely. However, spending bills in the Senate require a bipartisan vote of 60 senators, and Congress is running out of time before November’s elections. Expect another continuing resolution (CR) at the start of the FY–October 1–and full year appropriations bills after the elections.

In March, the president promised not to sign another omnibus spending bill, so last week, the House voted on a three-bill “minibus” appropriations package that contained the Energy-Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch FY 2019 appropriations bills. The Air Force received infrastructure funding for new aircraft bed downs to include the F-35A fighter, the Presidential Airlift Recapitalization (Air Force One), and the KC-46 tanker.

The House appropriators stepped up again by providing 16 more F-35 fighters than the Pentagon requested. The House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorize 48 and 47 of the Air Force aircraft, respectively. Between their two bills, they are short about 30 aircraft in providing air superiority resources to the Air Force. Appropriations language did prevent the Air Force from divesting more than one E-8C JSTARS aircraft unless it continues to fund the JSTARS recapitalization program. Secretary Wilson compares keeping the JSTARS fleet to keeping early 20-oz cell phones with dial-up internet service. We could consider buying P-51 Mustangs as well, since they are cheaper than F-35s…

This week, AFA participated in a conference call with the Pentagon’s Chief Management Officer. The Department of Defense (DoD) is working through the Reform Management Group (within the office of the DoD Chief Management Officer Mr. John Gibson) to establish the Community Services Reform Team Task Force. This task force will perform financial due diligence and business case analysis and begin organizational and operational integration planning for potential consolidation of back office functions of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Navy Exchange, Marine Corps Exchange, and Defense Commissary Agency. We know this issue is important to AFA members, so we will keep you updated.

Last week, AFA supported an informative Capitol Hill event hosted by the House’s Long Range Strike Caucus. The Air Force’s intelligence directorate provided a sobering analysis of the growing threat of Russian and Chinese bombers. Emphasizing the need for improved cybersecurity on our end, China’s newest bomber looks a lot like our most modern B-2 Spirit bomber. Shocker.

“Whenever I spend time with the athletes at the Warrior Games, I hope that just a fraction of their tenacity, their honor, their grace, their resilience, and their teamwork will inspire me to do better in my life every day.”

– Gen David Goldfein, Chief of Staff, US Air Force

From June 1-9, the Air Force hosted the 2018 DoD Warrior Games at the US Air Force Academy. Approximately 300 wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans participated in the competition. AFA supported the Games through its Wounded Airman Program (WAP). AFA has provided more than $300,000 in direct support of Wounded Airmen over the last three years. To support or learn more, click here.

“I’d like to recognize all our Vietnam era veterans and thank them for their service. Tonight, we gather to remember those who gave the last measure of devotion, those missing in action, those who endured the harsh and tyrannical treatment at places like the Hanoi Hilton, and their families.”

– Gen David Goldfein, Chief of Staff, US Air Force

On the evening of June 8th, AFA attended a wonderful concert at the Air Force Memorial, hosted by the Chief of Staff General Goldfein. The event and the music were dedicated to those that served in Vietnam. Colonel Bud Day, former POW and Medal of Honor recipient, was one of the honorees at the event and was posthumously promoted to Brigadier General, using General Goldfein’s brigadier general stars.

June 14 marked the 243rd birthday since the US Army was chartered and established (June 14, 1775) by the Continental Congress. It also commemorates Flag Day–the adoption of our flag on June 14, 1777.


Air Force Highlights

Trump North Korea summit reveals exactly why it is vital to rebuild the US military | 11 Jun 2018 | by David A. Deptula, Dean, The Mitchell Institute

Since the end of the Cold War, political leaders were quick to assume the United States would not face a capable adversary. They bought too few B-2s and F-22s, while scaling back procurement of the F-35 from the buy rate necessary to recapitalize the Air Force’s geriatric fighter force.

It is time to rebuild our military to be able to execute our new defense strategy rather than continue letting our defense strategy be driven by arbitrary budget caps.
Hard power is how we got Kim to Singapore. Ensuring our air arsenal has the capability and capacity to win today and tomorrow is what will allow us to secure peace and stability into the future. Read more.

The OA-X experiment: is there a future for light attack aircraft? | 4 Jun 2018 | by Julian Turner

The arguments for a fleet of light attack aircraft center on cost and practicality. The air force regularly sends state-of-the-art jets such as the F-15, F-16 and F-22 on missions against the Taliban, Islamic State and other insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, none of which pose a serious aerial threat.

Not only are these sorties expensive – an F-22 Raptor costs about $70,000 an hour to fly – they also waste fourth and fifth-generation aircraft on counterterrorism tasks when they could be patrolling the Korean Peninsula or engaging Russian targets as part of the European Reassurance Initiative. Read more.

Lack of funds causes USAF to skip hypersonic cruise missile competition | 4 Jun 2018 | by Garrett Reim

The US Air Force skipped a more extensive competition for its nearly $1 billion hypersonic cruise missile development contract due to lack of available funds to pay multiple sources to develop alternative prototypes, according to a newly-released government document. Read more.

Shopping the Exchange Generates $219 Million for Military Quality-of-Life Programs | 22 May 2018 | by Aaron Mehta

Last year, the military community generated $219 million for critical Quality-of-Life programs as active-duty Soldiers, Airmen, military retirees and their families, as well as honorably discharged Veterans, shopped through the Army & Air Force Exchange Service.

Over the last 10 years, Exchange shoppers have contributed $2.4 billion to support military Child Development Centers, Youth Services programs, fitness centers and other programs that make life better for service members and their families. Read more.

Quotes to Note

“The committee is concerned by the rate of non-mission-capable aircraft due to issues with supply of parts and spares. The committee is aware of numerous examples of aircraft that have been non-mission capable for several months waiting for the arrival of a part.”
– House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Readiness


“Adversaries are investing in capabilities to defeat our space [assets].”
– Brig Gen John Shaw, Air Force Space Command


“I believe we will be fighting in space in the next 10 years.”
– Gen David Goldfein, Chief of Staff, US Air Force


“Space superiority is going to be central to who we are as a service.”
– Gen David Goldfein, Chief of Staff, US Air Force


“Our mission is to organize, train, and equip air and space forces. We are the ones, since 1954, who are responsible for everything from 100 feet below the earth in missile silos all the way up to the stars…that’s our responsibility and we own it.”

– The Honorable Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force

Your Air Force – Did You Know?

The Air Force is responsible for 90 percent of our nation’s military space assets.

“Air Force Airmen conducted more than 172,000 sorties and 98,000 precision air strikes last year—over 70 percent of the total in the campaign—to support Iraqi and partner forces in Syria and Iraq.” – USAF Posture Statement FY 2019