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Military Aviation Leaders Discuss Readiness, Urge Budget Certainty

Top aviation military officials from the four services addressed Congress today on aviation readiness, all underscoring the urgent need for predictable budgets.

KC-135 refuels U.S. Navy mission A Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet departs after receiving fuel from an Air Force 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission over Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Oct. 14, 2017. The F/A-18E is capable across the full mission spectrum: air superiority, fighter escort, reconnaissance, aerial refueling, close air support, air defense suppression and precision strikes. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Battles

Army Maj. Gen. William K. Gayler, commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and of Fort Rucker, Alabama; Lt. Gen. Mark C. Nowland, Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations; Lt. Gen. Steven R. Rudder, Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation; and Navy Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Naval Air Forces, spoke on aviation readiness at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee's readiness subcommittee.

"Every hour of every day, airmen support homeland defense, deter aggression from abroad and provide a robust and reliable nuclear deterrent," Nowland said.

However, the Air Force is quickly approaching an inflection point, he said, noting that 26 years of continuous operations have taken a toll on the force and adversaries are beginning to close the technological gap. The president's budget for fiscal year 2018, he added, lays the foundation to restore readiness and increase joint lethality.

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