The Air Force has for years been deploying airmen in various-size groups. Officials often discuss the effect these deployments have on the deploying airmen, but the effect on those back at home stations is rarely been a topic of conversation. “We have deployed in pieces and parts,” Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said. For efficiency, in a “perfect world” the Air Force would shut down a base “here in the States and send forward the entire support function from that base to run Base Y in the desert somewhere … but we can’t do that,” Welsh said. USAF “cut the manpower in some of these career fields so far over the last 25 years, that there’s not enough left at home station to train and operate properly,” the Chief said. “So training programs slow down. This is what’s affecting our long term readiness. We don’t have enough people back home to turn the sorties that the people who are back home can do the training they need to do to stay fully up on the step in terms of readiness.” (Read the full story.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.