Air Force Reorganizes Maintenance Units

The Air Force is proceeding with plans to meld the aircraft maintenance units that support bomber, fighter, and rescue aircraft into the flying squadrons that they support. Gen. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff, approved the changes May 12 when he signed the global wing structure action directive. “The purpose of the reorganization, very simply, is to enhance our warfighting capability,” Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon, director of maintenance on the Air Staff, told reporters May 19 at the Pentagon. “The flying squadron is the cornerstone of airpower employment and must contain the key mission functions in order to deliver combat effects.” The changes will give the flight operations group and the squadron commanders the authority and the responsibility for ensuring that the units are ready for combat and also allow them to train on a daily basis the same way that they intend to fight, he said. Under the changes USAF is creating the position of deputy operations group commander for maintenance with an authorized grade of lieutenant colonel. Further, each squadron will have a maintenance operations officer with an authorized grade of major. Also, the former maintenance groups will be redesignated as materiel groups and charged with logistics readiness and sustaining the combat wings. The changes will take effect starting July 1, and the transition should be complete by the end of November. Air Force Reserve Command has opted in to the new structure, but the Air National Guard plans to evaluate them first on a trial bases in five wings, McMahon said. Further, USAF is about five months into a study to determine whether it makes sense to adopt the same changes or some variant for its mobility and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance units, McMahon said. Decisions in that regard likely will come in about a year or so.