If the Congressional sequester goes into effect on 1 Marchas is now expected, the US Air Force may be forced to take drastic actionswhich will severely impact the readiness of the combat air forces for years tocome.
Those draconian actions include cancelling major large forceexercises like Red Flag and Northern Edge, Air Force Secretary Michael Donleytold an audience at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium inOrlando this past Friday. The majority of the USAF’s fighter and bomber wingswill run out money to keep flying by mid-May, Donley adds.
But it might get worse still.
“Fewer flying hours will also lead to cancellation of someadvanced training and weapons instructor courses,” Donley says. Additionally,instructor pilot upgrades and other advanced training would also be frozen–butthe service is trying to preserve the undergraduate pilot training course.
The training stand-downs could take six months to a year torecover–but to “suboptimal levels,” Donley says. Getting pilots back up to the”desired level” of proficiency would take much, much longer.
The impact of shuttering the USAF’s elite Weapons School–eventemporarily–will be nothing short of disastrous, numerous officers are tellingme. The institution serves as repository of knowledge and produces the service’stactical experts.
“The impact will be generational,” one senior officer says.”Gutting our readiness will happen in a heartbeat, rebuilding it will take adecade.”