Department of Defense in the 2013 budget -- $4.8 billion of $5.2 billion. The effects have been immediate and ****ounced: nearly 10,000 airmen are being cut; 227 aircraft are being prematurely retired; and critical capability shortfalls are on the rise.
The Air Force's planned purchase of 54 aircraft in 2013 translates into a 100-year replacement rate. That's like asking current airmen to leave their jets on the tarmac and instead fly into harm's way in one of the Wright Brothers' kite-like biplanes. One has to look back to 1916 to find a year when the Air Force purchased fewer aircraft. While DoD's new strategic guidance emphasized the need to pursue "acceptable risk," these numbers demonstrate a clear divide between the Department's rhetorical goals and budget realities.