Six of the eight members of the congressionally mandated National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force are now in place. On April 3, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) chose retired Gen. Raymond Johns, former Air Mobility Command boss, and Erin Conaton, former Air Force undersecretary, respectively, according to a joint statement. Two days prior, President Obama announced his intent to appoint: Whit Peters, former Air Force Secretary; Janine Davidson, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans; Margaret Harrell, director of the Army Health Program and a senior social scientist at RAND; and retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis McCarthy, former assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman and ranking member will pick the remaining two panelists. The commission, created in the Fiscal 2013 defense policy act, will study the Air Force’s structure to determine whether, and how, to modify it. The panel’s recommendations are due to the President and Congress next February. (See also Defense Authorization Conference Report Concluded and Governors Seek Guard Presence on Force Structure Panel.)
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.