There is at least one segment of the Air Force that has decided it must increase the number of days its airmen deploy for air expeditionary force rotations. The Air Force Civil Engineer, Maj. Gen. Del Eulberg, has told the service’s civil engineer airmen that the field must increase from the current standard of 120-day tours over a 20-month cycle to 180-day tours over an 18-month cycle. Despite public statements to the contrary, there have been hints that service leaders are considering longer tours for all airmen. TSgt. Olenda Pena-Perez reports that Eulberg explained his rationale in a letter to CE airmen, writing that CE personnel have been in “surge operations” for the past three years with a “majority” working 179-day tours and even some on 365-day tours. He wrote: “To meet the continuing high demand while providing commanders a measure of predictability and stability to home station missions, we sought and received approval to place all civil engineers in an alternative construct” beginning in January.
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.