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Feb. 6, 2012—
The Air Force will commit about $600 million across the Fiscal 2013-17 future years defense program to realign certain missions in order to mitigate the effect of the service's proposed force-structure changes.

Specifically, the funding will help preserve 14 of 24 units identified for new missions and maintain an Air Force presence on seven of eight affected installations, while expanding the Air National Guard's and Air Force Reserve's participation in growing missions such as ISR. The funding also will preserve "an appropriate active and reserve component force mix," according to the service's new white paper, issued on Feb. 3, detailing these plans.

Briefing reporters on Feb. 3, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said the service is "fully committed" to the Total Force and acknowledged "we can't do what we do without the Guard and Reserve." However, he said the changes are necessary to help the Defense Department reach its goal of slashing some $487 billion over the next 10 years.

"There are multiple units in just about every state affected by aircraft and/or manpower adjustments that go along with these changes. In a number of cases we took mitigating actions by reissuing units [anything] from aircraft to remotely piloted aircraft to ISR missions, for example."

He continued, "We moved some aircraft from the active forces into the reserves and, in some cases, the unit size is increasing as well, but in general, we are getting smaller, so these mitigations and backflows will not cover all units at all locations," said Donley. He added, "Our intention is to protect readiness at any force level."

Beginning in Fiscal 2012, USAF will transfer six WC-130s from Nashville, Tenn., to Luis Munoz airport in Puerto Rico, replacing retiring C-130Es there.

The service also intends to establish an MQ-1/9 remote split operations squadron at Nashville and enlarge Nashville's intelligence squadron by turning it into a targeting group and creating a new cyber/ISR group.

In Fiscal 2013, the Air Force intends to replace C-5As assigned to the Air National Guard in Memphis, Tenn., with eight C-17s that will be transferred from the active component.

Youngstown-Warren ARS, Ohio, will receive four new C-130H2 aircraft and Cheyenne, Wyo., will receive one new C-130H3. Officials also plan to expand the Net Warfare Squadron at Warfield AGS, N.D., and establish an ISR group there to replace divested C-27Js.

The service will create four additional Predator and Reaper RSO elements to replace A-10s at  Ft. Smith, Ark., F-16s at Des Moines, Iowa, C-27s at Kellogg AGS, Mich., and one additional station at Willow Grove, Pa.

Finally, officials have proposed adding four KC-135s to Selfridge ANGB, Mich., and three A-10s at Whiteman AFB, Mo.

Officials outlined proposed changes for Fiscal 2014 to Fiscal 2017. They are:

Fiscal 2014:

  • Transfer 42 MC-12s from active duty to the Air National Guard, by assigning nine to eleven aircraft at each of the four Guard locations: Ft. Wayne, Ind., Bradley, Conn., Key Field AGS, Miss., and NAS Ft. Worth JRB, Tex.
  • Create an active association at Beale AFB, Calif., to conduct MC-12 training and provide an additional deployed combat air patrol forward using six ANG aircraft.
  • Transfer 10 C-130Js to Dobbins ARB, Ga., to replace legacy H-models, eight C-130H3s to Rosecrans AGS, Mo., and eight C-130H2s to Great Falls, Mont., to replace divested C-27s.

Fiscal 2015:

  • Transfer eight C-17s from the active component to the Air National Guard at Shepherd Field AGS, W.V., to replace aging C-5As.

Fiscal 2016:

  • Transfer eight C-5Ms from Westover ARB, Mass., to JB San Antonio, Tex., to replace retiring C-5As.
  • Replace eight C-130Hs at Savannah, Ga., with C-130H3s.
  • Replace eight C-130H3s from the active component at Little Rock AFB, Ark., with seven C-130H1s.

Fiscal 2017:

  • Dobbins ARB, Ga., will receive two additional C-130Js bringing its total fleet to 12.
  • Eight C-130H2s at Niagara, N.Y., will be replaced with -H3s, and six -H3s from the active duty component at Little Rock will be replaced with -H1s.

After these reductions and changes of mission, the reserve components—the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve—will make up 33 percent of the Total Force, a reduction of 2 percent from the President's budget position, according to the new white paper.

"We put the funds where we think they are necessary. This bears watching going forward, but we are committed . . . not to allow this force to go hollow," said Donley.