Orlando, Fla.—Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said he’s not sure yet whether the recommendation of the congressionally established Air Force structure commission is valid that the Active Duty component should make up no less than 58 percent of the Air Force. “I don’t know if 58 percent is too high or too low,” he said here on Friday at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium. However, the work of the Air Force’s own Total Force Task Force has provided such depth of knowledge that now, “we can work that out,” said Welsh. “It is cheaper to put things in the Reserve component,” said Welsh, and if there’s a way to do that, “why would we not?” Analysis on this issue dealt with weapon system and specialty code, and Welsh said it will now take about another year to hash out the details. The overall percentage target will be a feature of the service’s Fiscal 2016 budget proposal, he said.
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.