The Pentagon is issuing Program Budget Decisions based on the final decisions of the Quadrennial Defense Review, which officials expect to go to the printer on Jan. 7. It’s not pretty for the Air Force rank and file or some prized weapon systems. As we reported Friday, USAF will shed some 40,000 personnel over the course of the next five years. Most of the cuts will come up front. Faced with a five-year budget cut of $15 billion (out of $43 billion across all services), senior Air Force leaders say they logically had to turn to both personnel and procurement accounts. They say they could not axe readiness and have no more choice on cutting infrastructure, following the 2005 BRAC decisions. USAF officials plan to announce organizational changes next week, outlining how a restructured, 11 percent smaller Air Force will function.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.