Air Force officials symbolically cut a ribbon Sept. 26 to declare full operational capability of the Air and Space Expeditionary Force (AEF) and Personnel Center Operations Directorate at Randolph AFB, Tex. The move closes the loop on the shift of the AEF Center at Langley AFB, Va., to the Air Force Personnel Center at Randolph. AFPC combined the AEF Center with its readiness and casualty matters divisions to create the new directorate, which its deputy director, Steven Kelley, says now “can replicate all the functions here that were performed at Langley.” The switch of operations from Langley to Randolph started in August 2006 and involved movement of personnel and computers systems migration. Kelley said, “Our goal was to make this transition seamless and invisible to our customers and to the combatant commanders.” AFPC now handles both deployment and personnel processes. With the FOC behind them, Col. Paul Ackerly, head of the new directorate, said his unit plans now to improve AEF methodology without losing sight of the fact “that we have a dual obligation to the combatant commander and to our airmen.” (Randolph report)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.