Published: November 10, 2019
It's happening again. Our government is functioning under a continuing resolution, which freezes funding for all elements of the government at last year’s appropriation levels.
Last year, Congress did something it had not done in several decades. It fully authorized and appropriated funding for the Department of Defense and Air Force on time by the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1. This year, both houses of Congress decided to punt. For the Air Force and every appropriated function at Tinker Air Force Base, it's a problem that will only increase significantly unless resolved.
Our Air Force is working hard to recover from several years of sequester-impacted funding limitations. Meanwhile, it remained the principal instrument of combat power still engaged in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and other hot spots. This constant combat in wide-ranging areas of the Middle East and beyond has been damaging to equipment and personnel. The aircraft operated by the Air Force are largely operating beyond their expected designed and fielded lifespan. The personnel level dropped to numbers that had not existed since before World War II. Shortages in maintainers, pilots and other critical skills have been ever-present and difficult to overcome. This resulted in the smallest, oldest, and least ready Air Force in our history.
The past two years have seen a significant effort in Washington to provide adequate funding to modernize and rebuild the Air Force. This included procuring the new F-35 fighter and the KC-46 Tanker, both of which have sustainment and program management footprints at Tinker. Additionally the new B-21 Bomber probably at some point will be managed through Tinker. These three pieces are sorely needed to modernize our aging capabilities that are in demand across the globe. source