Chair McCollum Statement at Fiscal Year 2023 United States Air Force and Space Force Budget Hearing

2022-05-13 09:44

This morning the Subcommittee will receive testimony on the fiscal year 2023 budget request for the Department of the Air Force.

Leading our esteemed witnesses today is Secretary Frank Kendall. 

While this is Mr. Kendall’s first appearance before the Subcommittee in his capacity as Secretary of the Air Force, he certainly is no stranger, having previously served for nearly five years as the Department of Defense’s top acquisition official from 2012 to 2017.

Welcome, Secretary Kendall.

We are also pleased to have back with us General Brown, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and General Raymond, Chief of Space Operations.

Gentlemen, we thank you all for being here today.

In this year’s budget request, the Air Force is making large bets on future technologies and capabilities, coupled with a bold plan to divest legacy aircraft systems over the next five years.

At the same time, we have a bow wave of nuclear modernization, which is placing pressure on modernizing the conventional force. 

This pressure will continue through the current five-year plan and beyond.

The net result is that the Air Force is trading near-term capacity for what are hopefully successful investments in the capabilities needed to meet the growing challenge from China.

And as President Biden stated this week,the administration is tackling inflation head on.

Like the rest of the services, the Department of the Air Force is not immune to inflation but I know you gentlemen will be carefully scrutinizing how we can keep costs down in your budgets.

On Space Force:

The FY 23 budget request for the Space Force reflects an increase of 30 percent over the FY22 enacted level. 

Some of this growth is due to the establishment of a new Military Personnel account, which was previously included in the Air Force budget, and the planned transfer of the Space Development Agency into the Space Force.  

However, even after adjusting for these transfers the Space Force budget increase is substantial—about 18 percent.  

With these increases comes more responsibility to spend the funds effectively and efficiently to deliver operationally useful capabilities. 

So, I would like an update on progress made in fixing space acquisition and bringing greater discipline to delivering systems on schedule and within budget.  

I’d also like to congratulate Mr. Frank Calvelli who was recently confirmed by the Senate to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force who will serve as the first-ever Space Acquisition Executive.

I wish him well as he takes on this critical responsibility. There is much to do.   

Before we proceed, I want to convey the Subcommittee’s thanks to all the men and women under your command in the Air Force and Space Force, for their daily vigilance and hard work in service to our country.

I’d also like to note for members that we will host a classified briefing with Secretary Kendall over in the Capitol immediately following this hearing.

117th Congress