Heritage Events Podcast


A Budget Conversation with the Secretary of the Air Force

Last Fall, the Secretary of the Air Force stated that, at just 312 operational squadrons, her service was too small for what the nation was asking it to do. The reemergence of long-term, strategic competition with China and Russia requires it to field a force with a robust fifth generation capability and a capacity that allows it to compete, deter, and win anytime, anywhere. To do that, the Air Force needs to expand its force to 386 operational squadrons including seven additional fighter, five bomber, and 14 tanker squadrons – an additional force structure that Heritage assesses will cost more than 80 billion dollars to acquire. And yet, the recently announced budget for 2020 did not accelerate the acquisition rate for the F-35 or the KC-46, and it added $1.1B in funding for eight new fourth-generation F-15Xs. During this engagement, the secretary will discuss the capacity and capability priorities actualized in the 2020 budget, and how it feeds her service’s quest to not just expand the capacity of the Air Force, but to give it the capabilities it needs to win a war against a near peer competitor. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Secretary Wilson was an Air Force officer from 1982 to 1989. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.

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