Training flights for fighter and mobility pilots not facing deployment will grind to a halt in mid-April, and it will take years to get readiness back to an acceptable level, a top Air Force official said Tuesday.
“What we do today affects us three years from now,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller, the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, Moeller told reporters that a group of three-star generals spent two days last week at Joint Base Andrews, Md., to plan for the next 10 years if the current budget situation continues. The generals put together a list of questions and priorities.
Among them: how to find the right balance between maintaining current and older aircraft and moving forward with modernization and structuring the force with the right mix of active-duty, Guard and Reserve members. The questions will be given to the Air Force’s top four-star generals to help make budget decisions, he said.
To that end, the Air Force’s Total Force Task Force, a group of three two-star generals from each component, is beginning its work to move away from the budget battles the service faced on Capitol Hill last year with National Guard proponents.
This group also will advise the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force, mandated in the fiscal 2013 Defense Authorization Act, to work on force structure in future years.
The defense authorization act also directed the Air Force to retain 32 strategic airlifters that were on a list to be decommissioned this year. The legislation gave the Air Force the choice of keeping C-130s or C-27Js to help with the drawdown in Afghanistan. Air Force officials have said all 32 will be C-130 Hercules airlifters.
Moeller said he will brief members of Congress tomorrow on which airlifters the Air Force will retain.