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Service Chiefs: DoD Needs Consistent Funds to Maintain Aviation Readiness

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Aviation leaders from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy have urged Congress to authorize a stable budget for the Defense Department to support the readiness of military aviators, DoD News reported Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations, said at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness subcommittee that President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget will establish the foundation to boost aviation readiness and joint lethality.

Nowland added that continuing resolutions and budget caps will reverse the progress of military aviation units.

Maj. Gen. William Gayler, commanding general of the Army Aviation Center of Excellence, told lawmakers that the Army aviation might face future readiness challenges due to force structure reductions, increased global requirements, budget uncertainty and higher training needs.

Budget constraints have also affected the retention and career progression of naval aviators because overseas deployments of aircraft leave non-deployed squadrons with an insufficient number of jets, stated Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces.

Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation, also called on Congress for consistent funds since the Marine Corps relies on modernization and repair to recover its aviation readiness.

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