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.”
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.