Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, discusses the branch’s request for funding to fix bases, and the news that Space Force won’t absorb non-Air Force space infrastructure.
The Air Force says they need $5 billion to fix disaster damage at Air Force installations in Nebraska and Florida. Secretary Heather Wilson says that if $1.2 billion is not granted by summer, the Air Force will have to delay other base improvement programs to make the repairs. Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, says that the branch is stuck in a complex political situation. “What has this in an extraordinary territory as far as I’m concerned, is that the Air Force is caught at the moment between a rock and a hard place. Because, in addition to this normal procedural matter… there is also the question of President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to build the border wall with Mexico which, as you know, Congress has rejected,” James said. “He declared the emergency, he’s going to do it anyway, and is siphoning away certain MILCON moneys. Congress’s viewpoint is, ‘Hey, you are talking money away from MILCON projects and now you’re asking me for new money for MILCON projects?’ Something has got to give and the Congress is very unhappy with the current situation.”