U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, expressed concern about “insufficient” funding for the Air Force during a defense appropriations subcommittee hearing Tuesday.
“I was pleased to see real growth in the Space Force budget request which recognizes the contributions of the service, and the growing importance of our operations in space,” Shelby said. “I remain concerned, however, that the Air Force budget request is insufficient considering the needed modernization across the inventory with a rapidly evolving threat. China is continuing its efforts to advance its space-based capabilities and accelerating the development of air defense systems that put our forces at risk.
“Given Russia’s use and China’s testing of hypersonic missiles, I am interested to hear more from you about how this budget request begins to address the difficult task of tracking that particular threat.
“We must provide sufficient funding to invest in our future technologies while maintaining a credible conventional and strategic deterrent capability. To that end, I am also interested to hear what capabilities you could accelerate if additional funds were made available.
“Lastly, the overall funding request does not keep pace with inflation. I am concerned that this sends the wrong message to our adversaries. A complex and evolving security environment requires a serious commitment to our national defense. Now, more than ever, we must invest in new technologies and capabilities if we are to meet and defeat current and future threats.”