Commentary: Commander's Log: Changes to ensure a ready force albeit a smaller one

By General Donald Hoffman
Air Force Materiel Command, Commander
March 8, 2012

On March 6, the Air Force released a Force Structure Announcement that details force structure and manpower impacts from decisions the Air Force has made in support of the new Department of Defense strategy and the President's Fiscal Year 2013 budget that reduces Air Force Active Duty, Guard and Reserve positions by 9,900. This follows announcements this past November and January of some 12,100 civilian position reductions across the Air Force.

This announcement includes manpower adjustments associated with the reduction of 227 aircraft and other actions, including the inactivation of a combat communications group, several air control squadrons and restructure of the Air Force's regional bands.

The Air Force has made a deliberate decision to avoid a "hollow force" by prioritizing readiness over force structure. A smaller, ready force is preferable to a larger force that is not prepared because it lacks the right resources. In addition to exploiting new, more efficient technologies, the Air Force will rebalance the mix of active duty, Guard and Reserve forces to deliver core capabilities to the war-fighter.

In AFMC, the direct impact of the force structure changes on our military members is minimal since we reduced a large number of civilian positions in the two previous announcements. Tuesday's announcement identifies approximately 100 AFMC military positions for reduction, to include the Air Force-wide band initiative which closes the U.S. Air Force Band of Liberty at Hanscom AFB and reduces the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight at Wright-Patterson AFB. However, there will be a significant number of positions impacted at non-AFMC units that operate from some of our installations.

In light of our nation's current economic challenges, the Air Force, along with DoD and the nation, have to make tough choices. This force structure announcement preserves capabilities our nation counts on from its Air Force.

Thank you for all you do to ensure our Air Force will continue to be a ready, well-trained and capable Air Force --- the best in the world!

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