The 57th Wing at Nellis AFB, Nev., has started the process to compete aircraft maintenance activities at Nellis between the public and private sectors. Other Air Force bases are going this route—expecting to save personnel or dollars or both—but this is a first for Nellis, the home of Red Flag. Brig. Gen. William Rew, head of the 57th Wing, says, “We are aware of the uncertainty this competition will cause and are taking every possible step to ease our people through this transition.” Nellis has 72 government civilians and 720 airmen (11 officers and 709 enlisted) that could be out of a job if a private contractor wins the competition. However, the federal civilians would have “right of first refusal” for employment openings for which they qualify, said Rew.
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.