The Air Force aims to reduce its total end strength by about 9,900 personnel over the next five fiscal years, said Secretary Michael Donley Thursday. This total includes 3,900 active duty positions, 5,100 Air National Guardsmen, and 900 Air Force Reservists, he told attendees of his Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force breakfast program presentation in Arlington, Va. Donley said service leaders strived to “carefully balance” the force to ensure it would be able to meet future requirements while sustaining the operational tempo. “While we’ll be smaller together, the active and reserve components will be even more closely integrated going forward,” he said. As a result, the Air Force has proposed boosting the number of associations between the active and reserve components from about 100 to at least 115, he said, leaving open the possibility of even more associations at some later point. Donley said the Air Force has consistently cut its active duty end strength over the last 10 years, leading the leadership to focus more this time on the reserve components. He noted that the Guard and Reserve have been actively involved in this process.
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.