What $1 billion buys

Shutterstock.com

Article Highlights

  • Sequestration is no laughing matter, and the pain increases with each dollar and each day it continues.

    Tweet This

  • What does $1 billion buy for the Air Force?

    Tweet This

  • With sequestration, we’re talking real money, real cuts, and real losses in military capabilities

    Tweet This

As the sequester sinks in and starts to hit the U.S. military, many have focused on the impact of unpaid furlough days for civilians, air shows grounded, and fireworks foregone.  

Intuitively, many know that sequestration’s burden on those in uniform is large. But, so too, they say, is the defense budget. Sure, the first $487 billion in defense cuts under the Budget Control Act was tough, but the chiefs and leadership said it could be done. Not ideal, certainly, but bearable.

Then came sequestration on March 1 and an additional half-trillion dollars in defense cuts over the remainder of the decade. Ouch. This might hurt … but still, our defense budget is the world’s biggest and, at a half-trillion without war spending, we can probably absorb this too.

But, as the late Senator Everett Dirksen once said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

Sequestration is no laughing matter, and the pain increases with each dollar and each day it continues.

Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute today as part of an Air Force Association Mitchell Institute hour, Lieutenant General Burton Field, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements, laid out just what this all really means for airmen and women.

Yes, he noted, the Air Force’s annual budget of roughly $110 billion is a lot of money. About that, there is no dispute.

But the first tranche of BCA cuts swiped $10 billion, or 10 percent, from the Air Force’s topline each year for the next 10. Then sequestration kicked in with a tab of another $10 billion a year the Air Force must pay up in the name of debt reduction.

So, what is a billion dollars in the U.S. Air Force, General Burton asked? His answer:

·      $1 billion pays for 10,000 professional and highly-trained airmen and women.

·      $1 billion buys every EC-130 in the Air Force’s inventory.

·      $1 billion is the cost of all A-10 attack aircraft in the US Air Force fleet.

·      $1 billion purchases one advanced extremely high frequency (AEHF) satellite.

·      $1 billion is the cost of our entire fighter, mobility and half of our refueling fleets.

Yep, as Sen. Dirksen might have noted if he were alive today: with sequestration, we’re talking real money, real cuts, and real losses in military capabilities.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Mackenzie
Eaglen

What's new on AEI

Four years of Dodd-Frank damage
image Dodd-Frank, financial institutions, and public opinion
image Time for an Anwar Sadat moment in the Middle East
image Freedom of the skies at risk
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closing the gaps in health outcomes: Alternative paths forward

Please join us for a broader exploration of targeted interventions that provide real promise for reducing health disparities, limiting or delaying the onset of chronic health conditions, and improving the performance of the US health care system.

Event Registration is Closed
Monday, July 21, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Comprehending comprehensive universities

Join us for a panel discussion that seeks to comprehend the comprehensives and to determine the role these schools play in the nation’s college completion agenda.

Event Registration is Closed
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 8:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process

Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Expanding opportunity in America: A conversation with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Please join us as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveils a new set of policy reforms aimed at reducing poverty and increasing upward mobility throughout America.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Is it time to end the Export-Import Bank?

We welcome you to join us at AEI as POLITICO’s Ben White moderates a lively debate between Tim Carney, one of the bank’s fiercest critics, and Tony Fratto, one of the agency’s staunchest defenders.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.