Schwartz Signs Off on Deployment Model

The Air Force is going to change the way it deploys airmen under its Air and Space Expeditionary Force construct. Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz recently approved the new system, known as AEF Next, in an effort to improve unit cohesiveness. The new model aims to simplify the existing structure and give leaders more visibility into stressed career fields. Under AEF Next, airmen will deploy alongside their squadron commander as an “airpower team,” said Col. John Long, chief of USAF’s war planning and policy division. “For most airmen, the differences will be minimal,” said Long. He added, “We want to get the commander and immediate supervisors back into the deployment decision process. This will allow commanders to make key deployment decisions about their unit personnel rather than relying on functional managers at the major command or headquarters Air Force level to make those decisions.” Deployment-to-dwell time ratios are expected to stay around 1:2, meaning airmen will deploy for six months and return home for at least a year before they deploy again. The new system is expected to take about two years before it is fully operational. (SAF/PA report by Mitch Gettle)