The decision to freeze all cuts to the Air National Guard in Fiscal 2013 may make life more difficult for Congress in Fiscal 2014, but that’s no reason to go along with the Air Force’s proposed force structure plan, said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman. “What [the Air Force] did was not at all thought out; there was no case made for it,” Levin told defense reporters in Washington, D.C., June 14. “It was so disproportionate to what the other services were doing.” The Air Force has proposed cutting 5,100 Air Guard positions, 900 Air Force Reservists, and 3,900 Active Duty billets next fiscal year, saying further cuts to the Active force would negatively impact readiness. Levin remained hopeful that the national commission that the SASC called for in its budget mark-up would provide recommendations on the proper active component-reserve component mix and outline a path forward.
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.