Orlando, Fla. The Air Force is expected to reduce its end strength by up to 25,000 personnel by Fiscal 2019, but the plan is to take the “bulk of the cuts up front,” then normalize the force structure over the next few years, said CMSAF James Cody at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium here Friday. The goal is to have the majority of these programs executed by the beginning of next year, said Cody. While it’s a “five year number we are working toward,” the plan is not to “take five years to get to that number.” However, Cody acknowledged that officials will have to continue to make adjustments. He said officials are making refinements “almost weekly” that affect career fields identified for certain voluntary programs. “We are being very surgical about this approach,” added Cody, who said officials want to be as transparent as possible so airmen know all their options. “You have to prepare the force,” he said. “You want to give people the opportunity to consider the voluntary programs.”
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.