Details Revealed of Proposed Force Adjustments

The Air Force's proposed force-structure changes will affect more than 60 installations in virtually every state and territory, though 33 states will be directly impacted, according to the service's newly released white paper detailing these plans. Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said during a Pentagon briefing on Feb. 3 the service has accepted a slightly higher than moderate risk by proposing such extensive changes, though he said he was confident the Air Force would still be able to fulfill surge requirements and meet continuing rotation demands. Among the changes, officials plan to retire or reclassify five A-10 squadrons, one F-16 squadron, and one training/support-coded F-15 aggressor squadron in order to get down to 54 combat-coded fighter squadrons. They seek to phase out 65 of the oldest C-130 transports, leaving a fleet of 134 C-130Js and 184 C-130Hs. They also plan to retire 20 KC-135s, maintaining a fleet of 453 tankers. Click here to continue reading on the aircraft reductions. (Donley-Schwartz transcript) (See also Trading Size for Quality from the Daily Report archives.)

Mitigating Effects

The Air Force will commit about $600 million across its Fiscal 2013-2017 future years defense program to realign certain missions across the Total Force and mitigate the effect of the service's proposed force-structure changes. Specifically, the funding will help preserve 14 of 24 units identified for new missions and maintain an Air Force presence on seven of eight affected installations, while expanding the Air National Guard's and Air Force Reserve's participation in growing missions such as ISR, according to the service's new white paper, issued on Feb. 3, detailing these plans. The funding also will preserve "an appropriate active and reserve component force mix," it states. Briefing reporters on Feb. 3, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said the service is "fully committed" to the Total Force and acknowledged "we can't do what we do without the Guard and Reserve." However, he said the changes are necessary to help the Defense Department absorb some $487 billion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. For the detailed Total Force re-missioning breakdown by fiscal year, click here. (See also Donley-Schwartz transcript.)

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