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The budget request for the Department of the Air Force, which includes the Space Force, provides for a 12% increase over last year’s request. Mimi Geerges spoke with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall about his top priorities.

  • Kendall said defining a resilient, effective space order of battle is a very high priority as the joint force depends on space capabilities.
  • He said he is reinstituting some acquisition best practices he had put in place under Better Buying Power 2.0, such as ensuring programs are structured to deliver meaningful military capability as soon as possible.
  • He said China as the pacing challenge motivates him more than anything else and is a top driver of the fiscal 2023 budget request.
  • Kendall said the United States is behind in development and deployment of hypersonic weapons but should think about its military needs independently of what China is doing. He added that the U.S. has more sophisticated weapons than the Chinese in other areas.
  • While the Russia-Ukraine conflict is not significantly influencing the decisions of the Department of the Air Force, according to Kendall, he noted that “the inability of the Russian military to control the air is a very interesting feature here.” He said, “we’re also seeing the potential for great power aggression by a dictatorial, authoritarian state, which I think a lot of people dismissed as an artifact of history … so I think it’s a wake-up call for everybody about the seriousness of the potential problems that we face.”

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