Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday that the Air Force “is not just off on a strange mission” to eliminate some 40,000 personnel over the next five years. Rumsfeld was responding to a question about the planned cut and its impact on the war on terror during a Pentagon town hall meeting. He said that both the Navy and Air Force are investing in less manpower intensive weaponry, making it possible to cut personnel where “costs [are] going up and up and up.” And, said Rumsfeld, the Air Force vetted its plan with senior Pentagon leadership, which agreed that it “seemed to make sense.” Hmmmm.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.