Donley Aims to Protect End Strength

: The Air Force will strive to “protect overall force structure” and end strength in the coming push to eliminate billions in overhead costs, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Wednesday. Speaking at a Capitol Hill breakfast, Donley said USAF seeks to maintain about 330,000 active duty airmen and “the combat capabilities that go with that.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered the services each to find $2 billion worth of savings from overhead accounts in Fiscal 2012 alone, as part of a larger Pentagon-wide initiative to shed more than $100 billion in these costs over five years. Donley said these funding adjustments are meant to ensure resources are available “to provide for sustaining growth with a fixed topline” as critical modernization programs move forward. However, Donley noted, Gates “left the door open to paying for that” by cutting funds from lower priority or underperforming modernization programs.