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Air Force fiscal 2010 budget reflects rebalanced priorities

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
Air Force officials here announced May 7 that its portion of the president's $3.4 trillion fiscal 2010 federal budget reflects a balanced strategy to prevail in today's joint fight and sustain air, space and cyberspace dominance.

The two overarching principles guiding next year's budget are rebalancing the Air Force's capabilities and financing the service's "All In" commitment to joint warfighting, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.

"We've focused on our people and proven technologies, and put heavy emphasis on supporting combatant commanders in a way that complements the joint team," the general said.

The Air Force's total budget is $160.5 billion. Of that, the budget over which the Air Force has management discretion in fiscal 2010 -- including allowances for people, readiness, infrastructure and modernization -- is $115.6 billion. 

An additional $16 billion requested for overseas contingency operations supports ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Another $28.9 billion submitted in the request but not managed by the Air Force includes funding for medical personnel, special operations personnel and national intelligence requirements.

"Our balanced approach is in line with the Department of Defense's emphasis on prevailing in today's operations while investing in new capabilities, force structure, skills and technologies that meet tomorrow's needs," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley.

Secretary Donley emphasized that the funding decisions are consistent with the five priorities Air Force leaders adopted in October 2008. Those priorities are:
-- Reinvigorate the Air Force nuclear enterprise.
-- Develop and care for Airmen and their families.
-- Partner with the joint and coalition team to win today's fight.
-- Modernize air and space inventories, organizations and training. And
-- Recapture acquisition excellence

Funding for Guam military construction
A portion of President Obama's budget calls for $787 million in construction funding for military construction projects on Guam.
More than $33 million is designated for electrical infrastructure hardening on Andersen Air Force Base, $15.5 million for a field combat support vehicle maintenance facility at Northwest Field, nearly $5 million for perimeter fence and road construction at Northwest Field and more than $4 for a Commando Warrior operations facility. 

"The robust military construction funding programmed for 2010 signals the beginning of major construction on Guam to prepare for the military build-up," Delegate Madeleine Bordallo's office announced. "The funding targets key initial infrastructure to support the military buildup. Of particular importance is the $48 million in Defense Access Roads funding that will be used to improve the haul and access road network on Guam. 

"Additionally, the Department of Defense has programmed $259 million to begin construction of a more modern Naval Hospital that will ultimately provide better health care facilities and increased specialty care capacity."

The right mix of people
The fiscal 2010 budget protects funds that help the Air Force recruit, train, educate, sustain and retain the right number and mix of people, according to service officials. This includes selective re-enlistment bonuses and quality of service enhancements that are among the Air Force's most useful tools for developing and retaining Airmen with key skills.

The "huge news" affecting all Airmen is "despite an uncertain economy," Airmen can expect to see pay and benefits increases across the board, said Maj. Gen. Larry O. Spencer, deputy assistant secretary for budget. Increases of 2.9 percent in basic military pay, 2 percent in civilian pay, 5.6 percent in housing allowance and 5 percent in subsistence allowance are on the books.

Air Force officials also will invest $313 million in quality of service projects that specifically benefit Airmen, such as military construction, family housing, child development centers, dormitories and a new Basic Military Training facility.

Personnel funding in fiscal 2010 will play an active role in shaping the force, as the Air Force directs approximately $641 million toward recruiting and retaining critical wartime skills such as explosive ordnance disposal, medical, intelligence, contracting and special operations.

In terms of force structure, the budget also heralds the unprecedented undertaking of converting contractor positions to about 4,200 civil service jobs.

"The cost reduction from the contractor conversion will be significant, and if Congress approves the budget, there will be a lot of civilian hiring in 2010 and beyond," General Spencer said, especially in areas of emphasis such as acquisition.

Reflecting on the budget's emphasis on personnel programs, General Schwartz observed that "beyond the platforms we operate or the technologies we employ, Airmen are the true strength of America's Air Force. Peak combat capability begins and ends with talented, healthy, motivated, trained and well-equipped Airmen."