No. of Recommendations: 1
Congress has already all but cancelled the F-22 program, diverting those funds to the cause of keeping personnel in the Air Force. What we could expect is a greater emphasis on people for awhile until some issues there are resolved. Then, you will see the increased spending on advanced programs. I would like to see both happen simultaneously of course. However, I wouldn't expect anything "Reaganesque."

I agree. There are a few areas of readiness where you will see spending for hardware, such as replacing stocks of cruise missiles, ammunition and supplies that have been drawn down. But the real need right now is:

1) Increase full time staffing levels.

Right now we are still using serious numbers of reserves. Nothing wrong with that in dealing with a crisis or three. But you don't want to get into a situation of relying on activating reserve troops for long periods. This means that in certain areas, such as logistics support, the services are going to need to replace reserve units with newly created regular service units. (Actually they will probably be officially deactivated units reactivated and staffed out.)

2) Upgrade support infrastructure.

This is what that whole tempest in a teapot about leasing some new tanker aircraft based on the Boeing 767 is about. The Air Force is trying to respond to a serious problem, and Congress is trying to make political hay. If Congress decides it wants to buy the tankers instead of lease, that is fine. But the current fleet of KC-135 tankers is rapidly being worn out. Many of them are no longer capable of being used in a war zone, and the whole KC-135 fleet could reach that point soon. Actually the strain is mostly from continuing operations in Afganistan not Iraq, but it doesn't matter what is causing it.

The Air Force does have a few KC-10 tankers (based on the DC-10) but nowhere enough to even meet peacetime needs. And, of course, if the Air Force was going to buy DC-10 based tankers, perhaps using existing DC-10 airframes, they would have to get them from Boeing, who merged with McDonald-Douglas a few years ago. So there is no real alternative to the "new" Boeing 767 tanker aircraft. (AFAIK, the US Air Force hasn't bought any before, but some allied services have. In any case, Boeing has an FAA approved design ready to go.)

3) Increase recruiting and retention levels.

If you are going to increase the size of the active duty military, you have to increase recruiting, retention levels, or both. This means pay increases, possibly improvements in benefits, improving housing and such at military bases and so on. It isn't glamerous, but it needs to be done.

4) Eastablish new overseas bases.

Also there is a serious need for new overseas bases designed for long-term use. There has been a lot of talk about moving US Army troops in NATO to new bases outside of Germany. In part this is another political hot-potato, but it needs to be done. There is nothing wrong with retaining some bases in Germany, and this has to be a slow and long process. But concentrating almost all US ground troops in Europe in West Germany has no operational justification. There are Air Force bases in Germany, the UK, Italy, and Turkey, but no similar dispersion of the Army. And the Navy needs a permanant fleet base in the Mediterranean, and possibly one in the Persian Gulf or the Indian Ocean. There is an Air Force base on Diego Garcia, which has been used on several occasions to launch B-52 strikes into Iraq---but that should be replaced with a base much closer to the action. Perhaps in Iraq?
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