With the sequestration deadline just days away, Air Force officials are once again urging Congress to consider more base realignments and closures. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said last week the Pentagon’s forthcoming Fiscal 2014 budget request, which is set to go to Congress in a few weeks, would include a request for more BRAC. “We continue to believe BRAC authority is a tool we urgently need to allow [the Defense Department] to divest excess infrastructure and meet other needs, including modernization,” said Donley on Feb. 22 at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. “Given sequestration, it’s even more important for Congress to give DOD BRAC authority to pursue health care reforms that will help us control costs,” he added. Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mike Hostage said he realizes BRAC is a “touchy topic,” but said it could be critical to ensuring that the command remains mission capable in light of the steep budget cuts that sequestration would bring. ACC is set to transition to a state of tiered readiness, which means that the command will place any unit not deployed or preparing to deploy in “dormant status,” said Hostage during a Feb. 21 interview with the Daily Report at the symposium. “I need to close one out of every three” ACC bases, he said. In its Fiscal 2013 budget request, DOD asked for two new rounds of BRAC—one in 2013 and one in 2015—but Congress turned down the proposal.
Tiered Readiness at Air Combat Command
Regardless of whether sequestration kicks in on March 1, a solution is reached, or the budget issue is simply delayed yet again, Air Combat Command is likely to move to a state of tiered readiness, ACC boss Gen. Mike Hostage told the Daily Report on Feb. 21. This will ensure that at least a portion of the force remains combat capable as funds continue to dwindle in Fiscal 2013, he said during an interview at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. “The concept of tiered readiness is to have a certain amount of the force that is ready to go at a moment’s notice and then other portions of my force that are at lower levels of readiness,” said Hostage. “What will happen is when one of my units comes back from the combat theater, [it] will stand down because I don’t have the flight hours, . . . the weapon system sustainment to support fixing the airplanes, [or] the training ranges to train” the unit’s members, he said. Click here to continue to the full report.