The Air Force will not move to close down Air Force Reserve Command in 2015 despite a recommendation by the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force to do so, Secretary Deborah Lee James told Senate legislators Tuesday. Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, alongside Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, James said AFRC is needed to organize the service’s 70,000 Reservists as they become more involved in Total Force Initiatives. Disestablishing AFRC before USAF is capable of integrating its infrastructure, duties, and oversight responsibilities would be premature, James said. “We are all for integration,” but USAF will not have a “good alternative” to take care of the AFRC role if the organization were to go away in 2015, she added. Still, both James and Welsh left the door open for disestablishing the command in the future. Welsh said the service must consider alternatives to the AFRC structure as it further integrates its Active and Air Reserve Components.
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.