A Snapshot of the Deployed Force

Lt. Gen. Tod Wolters, the Air Staff’s director of operations, gave attendees of a March 17 McAleese Associates/Credit Suisse conference in Washington, D.C., a wide-ranging update on current global operations, detailing where airmen are deployed in the world today. In US Central Command, between 15,000-18,000 airmen are deployed in support of operations from Afghanistan to Operation Inherent Resolve, he said. Some 16,000 sorties have been flown in OIR, 65 percent of which involved airmen, he added. The Air Force also has been involved in 65 percent of the 1,500-plus airstrikes thus far in Iraq and Syria. While tactics and procedures in Iraq and Syria vary, they are “very sensitive and very elegant” while still giving US and coalition officials the “ability to neutralize the threat” in nearly all scenarios. Wolters highlighted other areas of operation as well, noting some 1,000 airmen are supporting US Africa Command, largely in three areas—assisting the Nigerian government with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in its fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the country’s north, the Horn of Africa where AFRICOM’s primary effort is aimed at curbing the violence associated with the al Shabab group in Somalia and neighboring countries, and assisting with ISR and other requirements associated with Libya’s internal upheaval.