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Satnews Daily
February 1st, 2010

U.S.A.F. — Financially Speaking...

Air Force officials in Washington, D.C., have reinforced their commitment to fund and support operations while posturing for future challenges through the service's portion of the president's fiscal year 2011 budget February 1st. The $119.6 billion budget proposal supports the Air Force's unique capabilities and core functions and how the service supports its people at home and abroad as it continues to rebalance the force, senior leaders said.

The FY11 Budget Request supports a balanced approach to prevail in today's operations while ensuring new capabilities, force structure, skills and technologies to meet tomorrow's challenges. In FY11, the Air Force's baseline budget totals $119.6 billion which provides resources across several appropriations that provide pay and allowances for people, readiness, and infrastructure and modernization. An additional $20.8 billion was requested for overseas contingency operations to support ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In keeping with the Air Force's tradition of taking care of its Airmen and their families, the Air Force will invest about $1 billion for quality of life programs, such as child development centers; spouse counseling and employment programs; school liaison officers; and childcare programs. The submission will also support a basic pay increase of 1.4 percent for both Airmen and civilians. In addition, Airmen can receive increases of up to 4.2 percent for basic allowance for housing and 3.4 percent for rations.

Personnel funding continues to be a priority for the service, with $29.3 billion devoted to active duty, Guard, and Reserve end strength preservation. The budget also provides for increases in critical skills recruiting and retention bonuses, and personnel plus ups in stressed career fields. Education will remain a priority in the FY11 request. Additionally, the Air Force's budget request maintains investments in the organization, training ,and equipping of Airmen supporting OCOs. To increase flexibility and lethality that meets the needs of combatant commanders in the AOR, the Air Force will continue to support efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the general said. The budget request includes a $6.1 billion FY10 supplemental request in addition to the $15.2 billion in OCO funding received in the FY10 appropriation. As the strategy facilitates funding increases for contingency operations, the Air Force will sustain its investment in new capabilities and a force structure to meet tomorrow's challenges.

The Air Force's top priority continues the efforts to strengthen the nuclear enterprise with $5.2 billion earmarked for ongoing support and maintenance of the service's nuclear forces. As ground forces draw down in Iraq and sustain in Afghanistan, the Air Force will see intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and irregular warfare operations increase. The new budget provides for 36 baseline and 12 OCO MQ-9 Reapers, four additional RQ-4 Global Hawks and 662 active duty personnel associated with the increased ISR missions. Service officials will also seek to develop a normalized training and basing posture for the MC-12 Project Liberty.

Enhancements include F-15 modernization and radar upgrades and EC-130H Compass Call modifications. Common configuration upgrades and software development for the F-22 will ensure compatibility with new models coming off the line. In addition, the Air Force will continue modernizing the C-5, C-130 and C-17 fleet through programs such as avionics modernization; reliability, enhancement, and re-engining; and large aircraft infrared countermeasures.

The service will also continue its efforts toward emerging missions and in continuing to build a robust space program, while investing in both secure and non-secure satellite communications, including a missile warning satellite. Air Force officials said the FY11 budget helps the service achieve the right balance to meet today's commitments while posturing for future challenges, adding that there is now have a blueprint to improve existing capabilities and pursue new technology while ensuring stewardship of national resources.