Pressing the Messages

The Air Force has old aircraft, in fact it is “flying the oldest fleet in its history,” Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne reminded personnel during a stop at Aviano AB, Italy. He said that when he left the service in 1973 the aircraft were on average about eight years old, but now they average around 23 years old—B-52s and KC-135s are more than 40 years old. Wynne asserted, “There comes a time when you really do have to recapitalize.” What else needs fixing? Wynne told the assembled crowd that the Air Force cannot “fill the Army with in lieu taskings.” Although Wynne said USAF would not “pull away” from providing airmen to substitute for soldiers, he said it should be considered a short-term fix, echoing concerns being expressed by senior commanders such as Air Combat Command chief Gen. Ronald Keys. Keys told defense reporters last month that it is time to sit down with the Army and sort out resources.