Air Force's FY 2007 budget released
By Master Sgt. Mitch Gettle, Air Force Print News
/ Published February 22, 2007
WASHINGTON -- As part of the president's fiscal year 2007 budget plan, the Air Force is set to receive $105.9 billion.
This budget meets the vision of Air Force leaders to fight and win the global war on terrorism; to develop, train and care for Airmen; and to recapitalize and modernize the force, said Maj. Gen. Frank R. Faykes, Air Force deputy assistant secretary for budget.
The Air Force budget is divided into almost three equal parts for each major area -- personnel; operations, maintenance and infrastructure; and modernization, he said.
General Faykes said people are the most important Air Force resource and a third of the budget is dedicated to the military and civilian workforce.
Key pay and entitlement highlights include a 2.2 percent across-the-board pay raise for all military and civilian personnel, plus additional targeted pay raises for mid-grade and senior enlisted Airmen. The average basic allowance for housing increase will be 2.9 percent (locality-specific) and continues the Defense Department's goal of zero out-of-pocket housing expenses. The budget request also includes nearly $600 million for recruiting, retention and special pays to train and retain Airmen.
"In addition to paying our Airmen, our budget also has money set aside for operations, maintenance and infrastructure to train, develop and equip our Airman to fight in the global war on terror," General Faykes said.
For example, the Air Force's budget includes funding for 1.7 million flying hours, maintains a fleet of nearly 6,000 aircraft, and supports daily operations at 84 major installations.
This year's $1.3 billion military construction request is the largest in the last 15 years and includes plans for 85 major projects. These projects range from new mission beddowns for the C-17 Globemaster III and F-22A Raptor, to quality of life projects which include nine new dormitories, one new fitness center and a new chapel, General Faykes said.
There were many dynamics at play during this year's budget, including DOD's involvement in the base realignment and closure process and the Quadrennial Defense Review.
"This budget cycle is one of the most interesting challenges that I have seen in 29 years of being in this business," General Faykes said. "This budget does a very nice job of supporting the goals of the Air Force and validates our Air Force direction and new capabilities that we want to bring on line."
He cited Air Force Smart Operations 21 as one of the keys for recapitalizing and modernizing the Air Force. By applying modern management principles across all areas -- operations and maintenance, personnel and investment accounts -- the Air Force will be able to streamline operations and improve efficiencies. Some of these actions will reduce the number or people in jobs where they are not needed.
"Drawdowns are nothing new for the Air Force," he said. "We know how to do this -- we've done it before."
The Air Force will also retire some weapons systems in FY 2007 that will aid in cost savings and the drawdown of people required to operate those systems.
"When it is all said and done, we will be a smaller, leaner, more agile force than we are today," General Faykes said. "This will allow us to remain the dominant air and space force for the 21st century."