Asked for his perspective on the challenges facing US Africa Command’s 17th Air Force, US Air Forces in Europe Commander Gen. Roger Brady said that the Ramstein-based numbered air force’s biggest challenge is to get the right rated expertise in place. “Getting [17th AF] manned up has been a challenge,” he said, as personnel have been shuffled around from other units and commands to address the needs of 17th AF/Air Forces Africa. Currently, just four C-130 aircraft are assigned to 17th AF, Brady said, which “probably doesn’t do it for the continent of Africa,” he added. With the new administration, Brady said there may be a change in the force size and structure of AFRICOM’s efforts, but for now 17th Air Force is working to get the forces it needs from other entities through the Request for Forces process, as it has no permanently assigned aircraft units.
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.