The Air Force will submit its program objective memoranda—its proposed five-year plan—to the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the end of this month, and it may include some buybacks of people and capability, Air Force Reserve chief Lt. Gen. J.J. Jackson said Tuesday. Speaking with reporters after an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast speech in Arlington, Va., Jackson noted that the Fiscal 2016 proposal included adding back “about 2,100 positions” to the Reserve, and “if you watched their testimony, the Chief and the Secretary continue to sound that theme, that our Air Force is too small.” The additional 2,100 positions were meant to help with “cyber units [and] ISR work,” but “a significant part of that is going to F-35 maintenance.” The boost is meant to replace some of the seasoned and new-accession maintainers that USAF wanted to shift from the A-10 to the F-35, he said. More will be needed. Jackson estimated the shortfall to be “anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 in fighter maintainers” across the force,? he said, but he did not describe how many more billets will be sought in the next budget.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.