Stand Firm: The Air Force will work with Congress to “fine tune” its planned force structure changes, but will “stand firm in our strategic decisions” overall to pursue a substantive rebalancing of its Active, Guard, and Reserve elements, Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley said Monday. In his keynote address to AFA’s Air & Space Conference just outside Washington, D.C., Donley said it’s understandable that Congress was upset with USAF’s force structure changes in the Fiscal 2013 budget. This was “the first time lawmakers saw” the depth of changes necessary to achieve $487 billion in defense reductions over the next decade, even before a possible sequestration. But USAF’s decisions to “trade quality for size” and put “readiness abiove all” are the right ones, Donley said. With reduced resources, Air Force must organize, train, and equip “in a holistic way…we can’t do it in 50 separate packets,” he asserted. “We must move forward as one Air Force,” he added. Donley’s remarks contrast those of new Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh, who said during his August confirmation hearings that USAF would seek to accommodate Congress. Donley said USAF will indeed be smaller, but “we intend to be a superb Air Force at any size.”
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