Air Force Realigns PEOs to Give Bombers More Focus, Capture Mobility ‘Synergies’

The Air Force is reshuffling oversight of its fighters, bombers, and mobility aircraft, separating fighters and bombers and putting tankers and the Open Skies recap program together with other airlift programs. The reorganization emphasizes bombers and extracts the efficiencies of putting all mobility types under one leader, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center said April 30.

The Program Executive Officer for advanced aircraft, Brig. Gen. (select) Dale White, will now be the PEO for fighters and advanced aircraft. Brig. Gen. John Newberry, now the PEO for tankers, will be the PEO for bombers. White was already heading up the so-called “new Century Series” effort to develop new fighters and “attritable” aircraft, also encompassing the Next Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD program.   

The Tanker Directorate will “return its three tanker program offices to the Mobility and Training Aircraft Directorate,” according to the release. However, the Presidential and Executive Airlift PEO portfolio will remain unchanged, “given the unique mission of these fleets.” Also unchanged will be the portfolios for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, which oversees the new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program and the Long-Range Standoff missile, and the Air Force Sustainment Center.

The moves are a response to new defense priorities, said AFLCMC commander Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry. “This realignment brings two key benefits,” he said in a press statement. “It elevates attention on the nuclear enterprise and our Air Force Global Strike Command customer. Meanwhile, it also reflects better alignment of the preponderance of our mobility aircraft within Air Mobility Command under a single PEO.” The tanker move is meant to “capitalize on mobility synergies and existing organizational efficiencies.”

Lynda Rutledge will continue to be the PEO for Mobility and Training Aircraft, now to include the KC-135, KC-10, and KC-46, as well as the Open Skies Treaty Aircraft Recapitalization Program Office.

The new B-21 bomber is being developed outside the usual system, by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. However, Newberry will have “organize, train, and equip responsibilities” for RCO B-21 personnel assigned to the Life Cycle Management Center.

White will now oversee program execution responsibilities for the A-10, F-15, F-16, F-22, Skyborg, and NGAD, the Air Force said. He will also have organize, train, and equip responsibilities for the Air Force F-35 program office activities at the AFLCMC, but the Pentagon’s Joint Program Office will still manage the F-35, under PEO Lt. Gen. Eric Fick.

The changes overall “focus our team’s ability to deliver, integrate, and sustain capabilities in an era of increased global power competition,” Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., head of Air Force Materiel Command, said in a statement. “The conditions are right for these PEO alignments.”