The Air Force will shed some $34 billion over the next five fiscal years under proposed measures that are part of the four services’ broader efforts to cut $100 billion in overhead, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday. Among the moves, the Air Force plans to consolidate two air operations centers in the United States and two more AOCs in Europe, he explained during a Pentagon press briefing detailing the efficiency initiatives across the services and Office of the Secretary of Defense. USAF will also consolidate three numbered air force staffs, reduce fuel and energy consumption within Air Mobility Command (an estimated $500 million in savings), improve depot and supply chain business processes, and reduce the cost of its communications infrastructure by 25 percent, said Gates. The Air Force is not incurring any major program cuts, unlike the Marine Corps, which faces losing its Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. Air Force officials declined to identify to the Daily Report which AOCs and NAF staffs are on the hook for consolidation, citing pending Congressional approval. In a statement issued after Gates’ briefing, the Air Force leadership said it “strongly supports” these moves. “Fiscal responsibility is a national security imperative,” wrote Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. Across the entire DOD, the efficiency savings are estimated to be more than $150 billion, most of which the Pentagon plans to reinvest in modernization and personnel, said Gates. (Gates-Mullen transcript) (Efficiency savings reinvestment plan)
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."