We have written about some of the efforts of airmen in conjunction with what’s termed provincial reconstruction teams, now Air Force journalist MSgt. Orville Desjarlais Jr. provides a concise history of their creation and USAF’s entry. As he recounts, PRTs evolved from the US Army’s humanitarian liaison cells, first formed in early 2002 in Afghanistan to aid humanitarian efforts. Since then, team composition has grown to include security forces and representatives of US government civilian agencies, and the mission expanded to include extending the authority of the Afghan national government. Earlier this year, the Army asked the Air Force to join the effort to relieve some soldiers from the duty, and airmen began training for the job. The PRT arrangement also has spread to Iraq operations. (Read here about Air Force medics on a PRT and here about work on a school.)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.