Drawdown Continues, But

Even though the plan to fund recapitalization of the Air Force by cutting 40,000 personnel “isn’t working,” there’s no plan to either stop the drawdown or go even deeper, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said yesterday afternoon. Wynne, at a press conference held during AFA’s Air & Space Conference in Washington, said it’s clear that 316,000 active duty personnel is the rock bottom number the service needs to function. Wynne said he’ll be making a “forceful” argument to Congress to add funds for modernization in future supplemental spending bills, but he said he doesn’t see any help coming in the Administration’s upcoming formal budget proposals. And there is the issue of the growing ground force—a total of 92,000 soldiers and marines—that could require USAF to add up to 2,000 more forward air controllers and other battlefield airmen to embed with them, Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley told reporters at the joint press session. Moseley had previously quoted an Air Combat Command estimate of 1,000. However, the Army and Marine Corps have yet to firm up whether the new troops will all be combat oriented, so he said the number of airmen is still in play. Moseley said he’s in discussions with both services to try to keep the number of extra USAF troops required as low as possible.