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The Air Force is digging deep to achieve extensive budget cuts — cutting people, eliminating entire aircraft fleets and begging Congress for another round of base closures.
Getting lawmakers to approve base closures in their districts is never easy, so the service is studying how far it can go in eliminating people and planes at some bases without prompting opposition on Capitol Hill.
The concept of “warm basing” — keeping a base open in a limited, less costly way while avoiding opposition to base realignment and closure actions — is one option being explored by Air Force leaders. That strategy is also recommended by a congressionally mandated report on Air Force force structure.
“Congressional defense committees and the Air Force should consider, and the Congress should allow, the closing or ‘warm basing’ of some installations,” the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force recommended in its February report to Congress and President Obama. “Attempting to operate all current bases at the same level of effort will require the Air Force to reallocate present and future funding and reduce some of the benefits that would otherwise be gained [by other cuts].”
What the Defense Department and Air Force really want is “cold basing,” or full closure triggered by a BRAC round, to shut down a base and “padlock the gate” to achieve the most savings.
“The department is facing a serious problem created by the tension of declining budgets, reductions in force structure, and limited flexibility to adapt our infrastructure accordingly,” John Conger, the acting deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, said in April 2 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We need to find a way to strike the right balance, so infrastructure does not drain resources from the war fighter. Our goal is therefore a BRAC focused on efficiency and savings, and it is a goal we believe is eminently achievable.”
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh made similar arguments at a March 14 House Armed Services Committee hearing: “In the next five years, we will cut 500 airplanes from our Air Force,” he told lawmakers. “We will cut around 20,000 people from our Air Force. That is a huge impact on who we are as an institution. It will create more facilities that are not fully manned or installations that are not fully utilized, which will create more of a discussion about BRAC and the future. It’s going to have an impact.”
The Defense Department, in its fiscal 2015 budget request, is calling on Congress to allow base closures, with the process beginning in 2017.
But should Congress balk at full closure, which would render an installation useless and mean the loss of jobs in a congressional district, the Air Force is looking at ways to lessen the cost of a facility by taking away some people and planes, while still maintaining the base at some level.
Most at risk of being reduced to warm status might be bases unsuccessfully proposed for limited or full closure in earlier BRAC rounds: Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska; Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.; Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.; and Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve bases such as Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass.; W.K. Kellogg Air Guard Station, Mich.; Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y.; Mansfield Lahm Air Guard Station, Ohio; Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Pa.; and Gen. Mitchell Air Reserve Station, Wis.
“We are really trying to read into the law to see what our authorities are,” Undersecretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning said in November, when he was serving as acting secretary and first raised the option of warm basing. “But they’re very limited without a BRAC, and it doesn’t take much to trigger something that’s considered a BRAC move.”
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Russian fighter jet made multiple, close-range passes near an American warship in the Black Sea for more than 90 minutes Saturday amid escalating tensions in the region, U.S. military officials said Monday.
In the first public account of the incident, the officials said the Russian Fencer made 12 passes, and flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer, at about 500 feet above sea level.
Two key senators say Air Force plans to stop A-10 flights and training in October are against the law.
Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., in an April 4 letter to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, say they have learned the service has not allotted any flight hours for the A-10 weapons school, has canceled A-10 modernization and has ended the normal sustainment process for fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1. However, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act blocks the Air Force from retiring or preparing to retire the A-10 in calendar year 2014. This means that the AIr Force’s plans for the beginning of fiscal 2015, while still in calendar 2014, are against the NDAA, the lawmakers wrote.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will shrink the number of its nuclear weapon-carrying bomber aircraft and reduce the number of submarine ballistic missile launch tubes as it modifies its force posture to meet the limits of the New START treaty with Russia, the US Defense Department announced Tuesday.
The New START treaty, signed between Washington and Moscow in 2010, sets lower levels for the number of deployed and non-deployed nuclear weapons allowed. Non-deployed status means the delivery system, a bomber, a submarine or an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch silo is undergoing maintenance and cannot fire a weapon.
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Airmen who fail to make the cut under this year’s force-reduction measures will likely be told between May 14 and Sept. 14, and be out of the service no later than Jan.15, according to Air Force officials.
Across the service, airmen are weighing their options as the Air Force prepares to slash 25,000 enlisted and officer positions in an effort to rein in costs.
Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James on Wednesday defended plans to scrap the A-10 fleet and retire roughly 40 C-130s to skeptical lawmakers who cautioned against making radical force structure changes too quickly.
“I understand, General Welsh, the dilemma you face, I mean you didn’t pass sequestration, we did,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “[But I still] believe the A-10 is unique,” he said.
April 24th through April 27th
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Advon Teams arrival on the 24th, Meet at Bar at 1800 hours.
April 25th--The Julio Pig Pickin' and all out feast begins at 1500 hrs at the ball parks in the center of the old MBAFB. At 1800 we'll retire to Headquarters for refreshments and entertainment at the Ammo Hospitality Suite. This event normally ...ends when we say it ends!
The 26th is dedicated to the theme "Ammo Keep the Flame Burning" with golfing, free time, pool parties, raffles, fishing for some, shopping for others, and entertainment by the famous "Julio and the Gang all AMMO Band." Toward the Evening of the 26th, we'll begin with an good old fashion Ammo Buffet, Ammo Calls, dedication to our fallen brothers and sisters, recalls of the past, and a live DJ, Jamel, with the "Asbill Power Hours and Hours Dance!" We'll end the evening when we want to once again!
Sunday checkout by 1100 hours or, if you choose, stay on for an extra day or so!
The family event is open to all USAF Ammo 461/2W0, Veterans, Active Duty, Guard, Reserves, and families. Having fun is Mandatory! The true spirit of Ammo prevails! Brought to you by the "Beach Boys" and the Ammo Vet Committee!
Hagel says 'tough choices' put Tricare fees, commissaries, BAH in 2015 budget cross hairs
Never in the 40-year history of the all-volunteer force has the Pentagon sought to roll back the existing military compensation package for service members.
The Defense Department’s budget proposal for fiscal 2015 seeks to “rebalance” the force by shaving money from personnel accounts to help pay for new weapons, training and the high-tech research that maintains the U.S. technological edge over potential adversaries.
“We had to make some tough choices — there’s no getting around that,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in explaining the controversial recommendations.
Behind the plan to slash taxpayer support of commissaries is a concept Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his senior advisors have embraced that base grocery stores should operate as a business and not a benefit.
This shift is candidly revealed in budget documents released Tuesday and in a legislative packet for implementing the funding cuts drafted by the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA).
The documents make clear that individual stateside commissaries will survive only if they produce enough revenue to cover operating costs.
Hagel gave a softer summation to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
“We are not shutting down any commissaries. We recommend gradually phasing out some subsidies but only for domestic commissaries that are not in remote locations,” the defense chief said. Because stateside stores “will continue to operate tax-and-rent free, they will still be able to provide people with a very good deal.”
The Air Force Personnel Center has halted processing of early retirement and voluntary separation applications for both officers and enlisted.
In a message sent to major commands Tuesday that was obtained by Air Force Times, AFPC said it has delayed processing applications for Temporary Early Retirement Authority and voluntary separation pay “while sustainment requirements for projected force reductions are further reviewed by the Air Force.”
The message said AFPC expects to resume processing the applications “in the near future,” but has not yet set a firm date. AFPC said it will update commands once the review is finished and processing resumes.