Eric Fanning, acting secretary of the U.S. Air Force, said the service will have to reduce in size, with or without federal budget cuts, Federal News Radio reported Friday.
Jared Serbu writes Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, agrees with Fanning’s observations that even without budget uncertainty, funds are being used more on planes and servicemen than on readiness and training programs.
If the funding cap pushes through, the service will have to cut 550 aircraft, 25,000 air servicemen as well as reduce missions and modernization plans, Fanning said in the report.
“The Air Force is too big for the budget going forward if it stays at the sequestered level,” Fanning said at a Defense One summit.
“On the one hand you’re holding out hope that you’ll get some deal and some relief, and you don’t want to make decisions to lop things off that you can’t replace. On the other hand, the longer you go without executing and making these decisions, the more difficult and the more expensive the problem becomes,” he added.
Serbu writes the Air Force might also lose pilots due to lost opportunities to train.
Fanning said the Air Force grounded 31 squadrons for a time in the first sequestration year and will continue to do so in the next few years, Federal News Radio reports.