Decades of Air Force Underfunding Threaten America’s Ability to Win
The Air Force’s budget has been less than the Navy and Army’s for the last 30 years in a row. The Army received over $1.3 trillion more than the Air Force between 2002–2021, an average of $66 billion more per year than the Air Force. These sorts of realities repeatedly prompted service officials to pursue “divest to invest” modernization strategies that introduced significant risk and failed to effectively balance modernization, force size, and readiness. Resetting the Air Force to meet the national security demands of today and tomorrow is possible, but it will take forceful leadership at the highest levels of the Department of Defense. Without modernizing our geriatric Air Force and building it to the capacity required by our national defense strategy, the U.S. is a great risk of losing its next major conflict.