November 1, 2007  

To Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne

For beating a $100 bil¬lion funding request drum without demonstrating that the service is serious about giving up its wanna-haves and prioritizing the must-haves.

The rhetoric throughout the Air Force Association’s annual forum in Washington in September was all too familiar: The Air Force is a full-spectrum service that must recapitalize its entire high-tech toy box. F-22s, F-35s, tankers, airlifters small and large, search-and-rescue helicopters, satellites — each gets tagged “high priority” by the Air Force commander protecting his patch. Nothing can be traded.

Which leaves the secretary seeking an extra $20 billion annually for five years while Air Force leaders make clear they’d use it to buy more F-22s. It’s a congressional nonstarter.