Air Force personnel officials think the service will be able to reduce its Active Duty end strength to the congressionally authorized Fiscal 2013 level of 329,460 airmen by the end of the fiscal year by using voluntary separation measures, said Lt. Gen. Darrell Jones, who oversees manpower and personnel issues on the Air Staff. That’s the case even though it wasn’t until January—with a quarter of the fiscal year already gone—that the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization legislation became law, he told the House Armed Services Subcommittee’s military personnel panel on Feb. 27. The act directed the Air Force to draw down by 3,340 Active Duty airmen. “With the reduced amount of time . . . we do have concerns whether we’ll be able to reach that [ceiling] at the end of the year using voluntary programs, but we believe we will,” said Jones. “We’ll be using no extraordinary involuntary programs this year,” he added. Fiscal 2014 may be different, however, said Jones. “In Fiscal 2014, we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to meet our end strength without possibly having to resort to the selective early retirement boards,” he said. (Jones’ prepared testimony)
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.