The Air Force currently has 3,000 civil engineers deployed to Southwest Asia, said Maj. Gen. Del Eulberg, USAF’s civil engineer. Speaking to reporters in the Pentagon yesterday (see above), Eulberg said 43 percent of those are in joint expeditionary taskings. With the CE field already at a “one-to-one” dwell time, the Air Force is looking to swing some of its engineering capability from Iraq to Afghanistan to aid efforts with the troop increase in rural areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan, he said. “It’s critical that we get engineering support over there as quickly as we can,” he said. Already, one 202-member RED HORSE unit moved in January to Afghanistan and is engaged in building a tactical airstrip for C-130 and C-17 operations, he noted. And the Air Force is considering whether it can utilize host nation personnel or contractors to handle some support functions abroad and how that might enable it to shrink its logistical footprint in some areas. Air Force civil engineers have already had some success in building up civil engineering capability in the Iraqi and Afghan militaries.
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.