RAND Explores Air Force Overseas Basing Options

Reductions in the Air Force’s overseas presence “may not provide much in the way of cost savings” unless the airmen and weapons systems from any shuttered installations are also cut from the force structure, announced RAND, citing the findings of a newly issued study. RAND’s Project Air Force examined five global posture options for the service compared to its Fiscal 2010 overseas presence: 60 bases, seven combat wings, and 46,700 Active Duty personnel, at a cost of $7.9 billion, according to the study. RAND estimates that the Air Force could save between $1.5 billion and $3.8 billion by adopting a Long-range and Responsive strategy, in which the United States relies primarily on US-based forces to respond to global crises. The lower total reflects savings with the force structure retained; the higher number represents savings with the force structure cut. The other options are: Forward in Asia, savings between $0.9 billion and $2.3 billion; Forward in Middle East, between $1.4 billon and $3.2 billion; Shared with Allies and Diversified Globally, between $0.7 billion and $1.8 billion; and Forward Globally, no estimated savings, according to the study, released on Sept. 12. (Visit this webpage to access RAND’s report.)