National Security

Air Force Chief of Staff: Sequestration Hampers U.S. Readiness for Syria

Air Force Chief of Staff Mark A. Welsh III at a press conference earlier this year. (AP)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said this week that although the military is preparing for a potential intervention in Syria, the United States is not as ready as military leaders would like it to be because of sequestration.

The sweeping cuts, the implementation of which began earlier this year, have had real consequences for military preparedness, according to Welsh as reported by Air Force Magazine:

The set of challenges facing the US military is more complicated in Syria than it was in the lead-up to 2011's military intervention in Libya, Welsh told airmen on Tuesday and Wednesday at Yokota Air Base and Misawa Air Base.

"Over the last eight months or so, the Chiefs have been united on this," said Welsh during his stop with Yokota's 374th Airlift Wing. "We’ve been pretty blunt about this," he said.

He emphasized that sequestration tradeoffs, such as grounding tactical combat squadrons earlier this year, have had a real impact on readiness and the service's ability to perform the full spectrum of combat missions. If the president decides to take action, the Air Force and the services will carry out their assigned missions—but "we are not going to be as ready as we would like," said Welsh when discussing the Air Force's part.