During a question and answer session with airmen at Hill AFB, Utah, Aug. 22 (see above), Gen. Norton Schwartz, the service’s new Chief of Staff, expressed his opinion that the planned move of aircraft maintainers into flying units should not go forward. He said, in response to a question, that he believes the maintenance group should remain independent. Early last month, Acting Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, halted action on an initiative that would have put aircraft maintenance units under operations groups, saying he wanted to ascertain the “appropriateness and timeliness” of the effort. Former Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley had driven the initiative, which he believed would organize Air Force flying units in the same way they go to war, but the plan essentially undid what his predecessor (now retired Gen. John Jumper) had done.
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.