The Air Force hasn’t released details on the number of personnel it plans to cut in Fiscal 2008 as part of its three-year force-shaping plan to trim the service by about 40,000 full-time equivalent slots. However, a senior service official says the 2008 reduction will be less than in 2007, which targeted about 8,000 officers and, after retaining more than anticipated, some 3,000 enlisted members. The working number is about 2,200 airmen. The Air Force also may not hold a selective early retirement board next year—with emphasis on “may.” The official said the service is managing the drawdown very closely, evaluating just what programs—from SERBs to reductions in force—it must employ each year to achieve its end strength goal by the end of Fiscal 2009.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.