The Air Force’s proposed force structure changes will affect more than 60 installations, causing a direct impact in 33 states but with actions that will affect units in virtually every state and US territory, according to an extended white paper released Friday. Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said the service has accepted a slightly higher than moderate risk by proposing such extensive changes, though he said he was confident the service will still be able to fulfill surge requirements and meet continuing rotation demand. Specially, officials plan to retire or reclassify five A-10 squadrons, one F-16 squadron, and one training/support-coded F-15 Aggressor squadron. In addition, USAF will transfer five F-15 Aggressor aircraft to attrition reserve status, and it will relocate one F-16 Aggressor squadron from Eielson AFB, Alaska, to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Even with these reductions, though, USAF will maintain 54 combat-coded fighter squadrons. The 2013-2017 future years defense program also will include $600 million to “execute and sustain remissioning actions that establish new MQ-1/9 remote split operations squadrons, transfer the MC-12 to the Air National Guard, thicken reserve component ISR and cyber participation, and transfer active component C-17s to the reserve component,” states the extended guidance. (See also Trading Size for Quality from the Daily Report archives)
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."