During ongoing military budget debates last week, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) held a hearing discussing the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from the Department of the Air Force. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I questioned Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and USAF Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz about proposed reductions to the Air Force in the Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal.
To get a better understanding of the decisions behind the proposed force reductions, I led an Alabama Congressional delegation letter requesting a meeting with Air Force Secretary Donley and Gen. Schwartz. The military faces challenging budget cuts, and the goal of the meeting is to get a definitive explanation on the methodology the Air Force used in its decisions. I am pleased that our delegation has a strong tradition of working together in a bipartisan fashion on issues important to Alabama. We want to ask the questions that have not yet been asked so that we can better evaluate the situation. It is important to make sure that as a delegation we are facilitating open communication so that we can do all that we can to promote the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard missions in our state.
In a time of significant budget cuts, this level of oversight and diligence is needed across each of the branches of the military. For example, we are taking a similar look at how the President’s budget proposal would impact the Army at Ft. Rucker.