The Air Force’s proposed reduction in force—included in its Fiscal 2016 program objective memoranda recently submitted to Pentagon leaders—will top out at “about 19,000 over the next five years,” said a service spokeswoman on Thursday. The initial forecasts had hinted that a RIF of 25,000 to 30,000 might be in the works. The final number depends on how much of Air Force force structure divestitures, such as the A-10 and U-2 fleets, Congress permits, but “by the end of the current fiscal year, we’ll have reduced the size of the Active Duty force by about 10,000,” said the spokeswoman. Air Education and Training Command boss Gen. Robin Rand said in a press conference on Sept. 17 at AFA’s Air & Space Conference that it’s not clear yet how many slots his command would give up, but he said it wouldn’t be a number large enough to require a big new push toward contractor-performed training. Exact numbers will have to wait “until people start leaving,” he said, but even so, the plan is for a 29-percent reduction in AETC headquarters staff.
President Joe Biden is nominating Air Force Lt. Gen. Gregory M. Guillot to add a fourth star and succeed Gen. Glen D. VanHerck as the head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)—one of several high-level nominations the Pentagon announced May 31.