The unstability in the international security environment and the continuing economic crisis in the United States is not going to go away by the end of the year, said Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, during AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sept. 17. “As those tensions grow, we need to ensure we remain well grounded in the foundations of our Air Force,” said Donley. As troops deployed to Afghanistan battle an increasing number of insider attacks and leaders back home battle with Congress over a growing number of budget cuts, it will become “even more important to come back to basics,” he added. However, whatever challenges the service will face in the future, Donley said he is confident “airmen will see us through.”
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.