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Changes Afoot at Ali Base: By August, the Air Force anticipates that its presence at Ali Base, Iraq, will be one-third less than it is today, according to officials deployed there with the 407th Air Expeditionary Group. USAF is reducing its presence at the installation as part of the overall withdrawal of US combat forces in Iraq by the end of 2011. Some of the base's equipment will transfer to Afghanistan. During the phased drawdown, some positions vacated by airmen will be filled by contractors, many of whom will be Iraqi nationals. However, "we will remain vibrant and operational until we turn the facilities over to a freely-elected Iraqi government in 2011," said Col. Dennis Hunsicker, 407th AEG deputy commander. Ali Base, established in 2003, was the Air Force's first base in Iraq. (Ali Base report by MSgt. Darrell Habisch)