Budget stability and on-time appropriations are more important than spending levels, Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Goldfein said Tuesday at the Brookings Institution.
“My ability to build the Air Force we need is dependent 100 percent on budget stability,” he said, thanking Congress for reversing budget cuts that damaged readiness. “Now in ’19, we’re able to finally start climbing back out of the trough we’re in.”
Fiscal certainty today is critical to readiness down the road, he said.
“I’m the 21st chief of staff. In 2030, chief 24 will go to war with the force I built,” he said. “Such is the lead time for building forces. So the question is what kind of Air Force can I build today for chief 24?”
But he said the most lasting impact he and Secretary Heather Wilson can have is creating an Air Force culture that supports retention.
“When you have that kitchen table conversation about ‘Do I stay or do I go? Is it time for me to transition?’… we want that to be a hard decision,” he told Brookings’ Michael O’Hanlon. “One of the recognitions in that conversation is, ‘I don’t know that I’m going to have the opportunity to make a difference at the level I can within the United States Air Force.’”
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Xavier Navarro