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​A return to sequester-level funding will “place American lives at greater risk, both at home and abroad,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James during a House Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday. “Under sequestration, the Air Force cannot guarantee that we’ll meet the nation’s demands. And, our people will definitely be in more danger, and I just think this is not acceptable. Something has got to give,” added James. Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said the Air Force must make some “persistent, consistent investment” in critical infrastructure and readiness if it wants to be viable in the future. “If we don’t invest in readiness today, we risk losing the fight today,” said Welsh during the same hearing. “If we don’t invest in readiness and capability for the future, we risk losing the future fight.” Welsh estimated it would take eight to 10 years “to recover full-spectrum readiness.” (James and Welsh prepared testimony)