The White House budget office has asked the Pentagon to consider delaying the purchase of aerial refueling tankers by five years, a move that reflects the constraints of drawing up a budget in the midst of a recession, according to two sources familiar with the administration's discussions.
The possible delay in one of the Pentagon's most expensive programs is one of a number of options the administration is weighing, the sources said. No final budget decisions have been made, officials said.
Beat up on the USAF for the F-22 and JSF all you want, but we're one fatigued airframe away from being utterly and totally fucked. Good luck doing anything in the CENTCOM AOR without KC-135s, because the KC-10s and RAF Tristars and VC-10s sure as hell won't be able to pick up the slack. Strategic airlift? Bye-bye. The logistics of ONE would get a lot more exciting. Have fun forward deploying anything to Guam. Global Reach Global Power? Only if you've got a metric shit-ton of extra fuel tanks onboard.
There's a reason that the CSAF recently said that acquiring new tankers is still our number one priority. The tankers are the only thing in the budget that are literally non-negotiable; if we don't get new tankers you might as well sell the rest of the service off because nothing else will get done.
Did I say nothing else would get done? Sorry, I meant nothing else would get done except for VIP airlift:
The documents also detail correspondence from intermediaries for Speaker Pelosi issuing demands for certain aircraft and expressing outrage when requested military planes were not available. "It is my understanding there are no G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable...The speaker will want to know where the planes are..." wrote Kay King, Director of the House Office of Interparliamentary Affairs. In a separate email, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King writes, "This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset [s]peaker."
h/t: the CDR for both.