AFA: Welsh Reiterates Budget Cut Warnings By Aaron Mehta


DeM Banter: always enjoy Gen Welsh’s thoughts, words, and vision…odd note for him to end on, …And at some point in the future, the Air Force “will be the best Air Force in the world.” Would like to see that transcript…
February 21, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. — Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh warned a Florida crowd this morning that sequestration will leave deep cuts on the service that will threaten both personnel and technology over the next decade.

Welsh opened this week’s Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium by warning the cuts are “significant, they’re deep, they’re gonna hurt, and they change the way we see the future. That’s what’s coming.”

Modernization and readiness stand to suffer, although “we have no idea” what that might look like long term. By mid-May, Welsh said, training will be “lower than acceptable.” Large-scale training missions, such as Red Flag, will have to be canceled, and training for other large projects is also at risk.

Sequestration will cause the force to lose three F-35s “this year,” and some cyber software development will miss initial operating capability. Welsh said he “hopes” the cuts won’t threaten the Air Force contract for the new KC-46 tanker, but the service has to “wait and see.”

Similarly, on the new long-range bomber, the service must “wait and see the impact of the cuts” before knowing the outcome.

Much of what Welsh said repeated statements made during testimony on Capitol Hill last week, when the Joint Chiefs appeared before the House and Senate Armed Services committees. But unlike his time in front of Congress, this speech was geared toward an Air Force audience.

The Air Force’s top general emphasized the human impact of the cuts, highlighting the personal stories of enlisted service members. Welsh’s message: The power behind the Air Force is the people, and those people will be hurt by sequestration.

“We can do anything” because of the service members, Welsh said after telling a number of stories, “if we help them.”

The general also praised the civilian force that is facing a collective “31.5 million” hours of furloughs. Under guidance issued last month by top Air Force officials, civilian workers face up to 22 days of furloughs per individual. Welsh stated that 40 percent of the cyber and 50 percent of the space force are civilian.

Welsh struck a hopeful note toward the end of his speech.

“We’re going to get through this financial mess we’re mired in right now” with the help of the airmen. And at some point in the future, the Air Force “will be the best Air Force in the world,” Welsh said.

5 Replies to “AFA: Welsh Reiterates Budget Cut Warnings By Aaron Mehta”

  1. Wow… Interesting indeed. The man is a realist, there is no way around it. It’s good to have someone in a position of strength that will tell it like it is and really ruffle feathers that need ruffling.

  2. If we lose our training, we lose our competitive advantage. Decreases in cyber/space/UAV ops take away from our technoligical edge, and an aging fleet with few updates won’t add much credence to our claims. Unfortunately, I don’t see how we could be the clear front runner after losing so much…at least as a single force. As a military we should remain just as lethal, but on a smaller capacity…but is that really a bad thing? If this article infers that we might migh lose top-dog status, then I can see it.

    As for the comment on the medal, I do not think it should be above any device with a “V” on it. That is absurd. However, coming into a UAV world from a normal aviation background where I got a medal simply for being ready for combat, I do see a need to reward a group who is deployed in garrison 24/7 and only has 2 non-flying days in the unit a month. It is a bigger drag on real life than the worst alert or deployment flying schedule I have experienced and morale is so low that a lazy toad would have no problem clearing it. Sometimes a sick horse responds to even the smallest of carrots…

    The future is staring us all in the eyes, yet people still refuse to accept it. We need a lot more realists, now more than ever.

    1. Vooj: Agree 190%… training is what sets our USAF apart, we train hard, work hard, think hard… as such we have risen to the top. Without the training–how do we stay there? Especially like your final comment on the future–to change it, we at least need to acknowledge it.

  3. I did receive the transcript: As I thought… the last line was a tad out of context….

    “Our Air Force is pretty darn good. The people in it are unbelievably good, and we’re going to get through this financial mess that we’re kind of mired in right now. And when we come out the other end we’re going to be exactly what we were when we went in to the front of it. We’re going to be the best Air Force in the world. You and I are going to make sure that happens. The Secretary would get rid of me in a heartbeat if he doesn’t think that’s where we’re headed. So I’m not worried about that because we’ve got them, and they can do anything. Anything if we help them.”

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