Second lieutenants commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps now have the opportunity to go directly into the reserve components. The Air Force launched the Total Force Commissioning Process, effective July 10, which allows graduated seniors the option to “pursue opportunities in the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard,” states a release from the same day. Modeled after the Army, this program aligns with the Air Force’s aim to reduce the size of the Active Duty force. “Given budget reductions, the Air Force must reduce its Active Duty force, limiting the number of cadets we can accept into the active component,” said Lt. Gen. Sam Cox, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services. “The new Total Force Commissioning Process allows us to provide opportunities for high quality cadets to continue serving, albeit in our reserve components.” ROTC graduates have until 2015 to make a decision. Cadets who decide to apply for voluntary release will find out if their application has been approved in the fall.
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.