AFA members are represented on Capitol Hill and Federal Executive Agencies by a dedicated government relations staff focusing on National Policy topics such as: caring for the veterans, retirees, and active-duty personnel; recapitalizing the Air Force’s aging fleet; securing space and cyber space; strengthening the nuclear mission and investing in air power.
Learn more about the Air & Space Forces Association Advocacy efforts:
Challenges and Issues
Today the United States is challenged by a more competitive and dangerous global environment. The destabilizing actions of both Russia and China have placed the U.S. national and economic security at risk. Russia is modernizing both its conventional nuclear arsenals, while China is aggressively investing to overtake our military and economic advantages globally. At the same time, increased threats from mid-tier powers and the rogue regimes of North Korea, Iran, and violent extremist organizations require increased readiness by American air, space, and cyber forces to respond to a range of contingencies.
While the number of Air Force missions increased, the number of its personnel declined by 30 percent and the number of its aircraft declined by 37 percent since the 1991 Gulf War. Matched with insufficient and unpredictable budgets, the Air Force has faced the combined effects of decreased readiness and aging weapons systems and equipment. Forged against the backdrop of deterrence, readiness, and engagement, the Air Force has been in continuous combat operations for 28 years with a steadily smaller force, which has taken a severe toll on both weapon systems and, more importantly, Airmen and their families. The Air Force is just too small and too old for what our nation requires of it.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 imposed across-the-board limits on Defense spending through a mechanism called Sequestration which limited the ability of the Services to make smart investments in recapitalization and operations. While the temporary suspension of Sequestration for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 halted the immediate decline in military capability, the Defense Department still lacks the resources to grow its end strength capacity as required and budget sequestration is scheduled to return in fiscal year (FY) 2020.
Congress must fund the Air Force on time and in a sufficient manner to fix readiness issues and to recapitalize and modernize the oldest, smallest, and least ready Air Force in its history. The U.S. needs to increase investments in Research and Development (R&D) and in its Science and Technology (S&T) accounts to promote innovation and experimentation necessary for achieving and maintaining the air, space, and cyber superiority that this nation requires, and our warfighters deserve.
Mitchell Institute for Aerospace studies
AFA's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is an independent, nonpartisan policy research institute established to provide creative, insightful policy options that better empower our nation's leaders by:
- Informing the national security debate
- Educating about aerospace power's unique role in securing America's global interests
- Cultivating air minded talent
The institute is currently led by Lt. Gen. David Deptula, USAF (Ret.), the Mitchell Institute publishes scholarly research reports and papers to inform defense policy leaders in government and the private sector. Its Space Center of Excellence, led by Gen. Kevin Chilton, USAF (Ret.) focuses on advancing the needs and requirements of the U.S. Space Force in the 21st century. Mitchell produces a weekly podcast and frequent virtual and in-person events.
Top Legislative Issues
Widely respected in Congress, AFA works to influence and educate lawmakers on issues affecting the Air and Space Forces.
Learn more about the AFA’s Mitchell Institute: