JUST IN: Extended Continuing Resolution Could Reduce Air Force Buying Power by $11.8 Billion

By Mandy Mayfield

If Congress continues to pass stop-gap funding measures in place of a major appropriations bill, high-ticket Air Force programs — such as the F-15EX — could face delays, according to the service.

The government is currently operating under a continuing resolution with a Nov. 21 deadline. CRs are problematic for the Pentagon because they generally freeze funding at the levels of the previous fiscal year and inhibit new-start programs.

The House and Senate are currently in negotiations regarding the fiscal year 2020 funding bill as the deadline approaches. If Congress passes a year-long CR, 88 new-start programs that were included in the 2020 budget request would be blocked, according to a document released by the service Nov. 7 during an Air Force Association breakfast in Washington, D.C.

“A continuing resolution will prevent the procurement of the F-15EX, F-22 sensor upgrades and F-35 modifications and correction of deficiencies,” the document reads. A year-long CR would also impact the GPS III Follow-On satellite and slow disaster recovery efforts at Tyndall and Offutt Air Force Bases in Florida and Nebraska, respectively. It would result in the loss of $11.8 billion in overall buying power for the service, the document added.

A six-month continuing resolution could postpone development and production of the F-15EX which could negatively impact prime contractor Boeing’s pricing. The delay would also mean the service would have to continue to operate and sustain the F-15C fleet longer than planned, according the document.

A six-month continuing resolution would also drastically reduce munitions procurement.

The resolution would cut “munitions procurement by 1,000 joint direct attack munition tail kits, 99 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and 665 small diameter bomb II munitions, constraining industrial production capabilities, delaying inventory buildup and driving contract negotiations,” according to the document.

A CR would also delay new weapon system beddowns for the F-35, KC-46, T-7 and combat rescue helicopter, the document said.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein warned during the breakfast that a continuing resolution could have an even deeper impact as defense funding is predicted to diminish in the coming years.

“If you look at the projections of funding in the years ahead, many believe that [fiscal year 2021] may very well be the last really good year” of funding, he said. “That may not be true, but it ... may go flat after that or it may start coming down.”

Topics: Air Power

Comments (1)

Re: Air Force - Extended Continuing Resolution Could Impact F-15EX Production

Obviously, this all depends on how important and required the F-15EX is now according to service demands. A delay of the F-15EX could be handled, but the F15EX should indeed be purchased.

I do find the article vague as wasn't the F-15EX already "developed" and just needs production? What needs to be developed? The EW/ECM or software, but isn't that comparable to the JASDF F-15Js or the Saudi or UAE F-15s, or is the F-15EX more advanced than those top F-15E variants?

As for the USAF shortened or lengthed budget, the USAF should re-engine the B-52s to save fuel, a desire that stretched on for years, and also develop and purchase that additional AAM internal missile rack for the F-35s in addition to developing an engineering fix to allow the F-35 to fly max speed for more than 90 seconds without damaging itself, if at all possible.

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