US Air Forces in Europe expects to reactivate 17th Air Force, the air component of the fledgling US Africa Command, on USAF’s anniversary this Sept. 18, says Gen. Roger A. Brady, who has led USAFE since January. AFRICOM is expected to become fully operational Oct. 1. The numbered air force command staff will be working with an air operations center dedicated to Africa-related missions and support of the new command, Brady said in an interview March 18 (see below). The exact location for these entities is in final coordination but has not been announced as details are worked out with the host-nation. Roughly 95 airmen will be needed to staff 17th Air Force headquarters and another 190 to run the AOC, he said. USAFE is reconstituting 17th Air Force while simultaneously making final manpower cuts as part of the Air Force’s overall drawdown, Brady said. The command is losing roughly 3,500 positions. (For more from Brady on USAFE read Expanding While Contracting)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.