The Air Force just wrapped up the last of BRAC 2005, but Secretary Michael Donley said USAF still has too much infrastructure. During a speech Thursday on Capitol Hill, Donley said force structure decisions made during BRAC 2005 retired aircraft, but failed to close bases, leaving many units without missions. Now, as the Defense Department looks to shed at least $450 billion from its budget over the next 10 years, “we are going to face more of these kinds of challenges,” putting “more pressure on infrastructure,” he said. Still, no decisions or commitments have been made in this regard yet. “We understand the sensitivities . . . and we will work through that issue inside DOD before we bring our [Fiscal] 2013 budget to the Hill next year. But, I would only add that we felt like we had excess capacity over the last few years after BRAC 2005,” he explained. He continued, “The Air Force is [going to] get smaller, we are going to retire additional aircraft and capabilities. That will only put more pressure on the issue of excess infrastructure.” Over the course of six years, while implementing BRAC 2005’s 64 USAF-specific recommendations, the Air Force executed seven closures and orchestrated 63 realignments at 122 installations.
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.