Air Force’s nearly $260B budget request targets modernization, transformation

Air Force officials have indicated the service branch’s $259.3 billion budget request would focus on modernization while addressing training, readiness, and new technology.

The funding proposal includes $215.1 billion for the Air Force and $30 billion for the Space Force. If enacted into law as proposed, the department’s overall budget would expand by $9.3 billion beyond last year’s enacted budget.

“We are united in our commitment to modernizing the Air and Space Forces and in achieving the transformation we must have to be competitive with our pacing challenge – China, China, China,” Department of the Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said.

The budget request includes notable increases for upgrading the ground-based nuclear deterrent known as Sentinel; increasing the number of military space launches to 15 from 10, which underscores the importance of space; and a $5 billion increase in research and development necessary to bring the force of the future into reality, per officials.

“We must field combat-ready forces, so the Space Force has the personnel, expertise, weapon systems, and equipment required to protect U.S. interests in space,” U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman said.

Saltzman said the proposed budget balances the requirements for the nation’s newest military service.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. said the budget proposal is focused on delivering not only a more modern Air Force but one that has the right combination of hardware, people, and capabilities.

Douglas Clark

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