WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
The Air Force announced the possible retirement of 18 A-10 aircraft assigned to the 917th Fighter Group, Barksdale AFB, La., a geographically separated unit assigned to the 442nd Fighter Wing here.
The proposal includes retiring three other A-10s previously slated for retirement and awaiting transfer. Three other A-10s will be transferred here. Under the proposal, the 917th FG will no longer gain an active-associate unit.
The proposal is part of the fiscal year '13 president's budget. In all, the proposal includes the retirement of 82 Air Force Reserve aircraft and other changes in 14 states - Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas - in the next few years according to Pentagon officials Feb. 3.
Called the "Air Force Strategy and Force Structure Overview," the Air Force plans to rebalance its overall ratio of regular, Reserve and Air National Guard forces at about 60 installations in 33 states and retire 227 aircraft to support a new defense strategy.
"We're going to do everything we can to take care of our people as these changes occur," said Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., chief of Air Force Reserve at the Pentagon. "We're putting together programs to retain as many of our reservists as possible."
One of the biggest changes for the Air Force Reserve is the planned closure of the 911th Airlift Wing, Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Penn. If the 911th AW is deactivated, the Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station is expected to close. However, the Pittsburgh Air National Guard Base is planned to remain operational.
Faced with austere budget times, the Air Force is refocusing and reducing the size of its forces to comply with the president's new defense strategy and the budget control act's requirements to cut $487 billion from the defense budget over the next 10 years.
The Air Force's share is about $54 billion - and those cuts may grow.
"The president and the Department of Defense have directed our new defense strategy guidance," Stenner said. "Now our Air Force has to set priorities and make some tough choices to rebalance our forces and re-align with the new strategy."
To achieve these goals, the Air Force is planning significant organizational changes. The Air Force Reserve's portion of the cuts includes reducing its inventory by 61 airlift and aerial-refueling aircraft, as well as, 21 fighter jets.
This will retire the Air Force's oldest aircraft, make room for newer models, and consolidate similar types of aircraft at common locations as much as possible.
Other possible changes to the Air Force Reserve include:
· Dobbins ARB, Ga. - Retire seven C-130H2 aircraft and add 10 C-130J aircraft during fiscal year '14.
· Keesler AFB, Miss. - Transfer 10 C-130J aircraft to new location in fiscal year '14. Although the active-associate unit ends as part of the fiscal year '13 president's budget, the Air Force Reserve unit remains operational.
· Lackland AFB, Texas - Retire 16 C-5A aircraft from fiscal year '13 through fiscal year '14. Close the C-5A training school. Add eight C-5M aircraft in fiscal year '15.
· Little Rock AFB, Ark. - Retire two C-130H2 aircraft in fiscal year '17. Unit remains operational.
· March AFB, Calif. - Retire one KC-135 aircraft in fiscal year '13. Unit remains operational.
· Maxwell AFB, Ala. - Drawdown one squadron by retiring seven C-130H2 aircraft in fiscal year '14. Unit remains operational.
· Minneapolis-St. Paul ARS, Minn. - Drawdown one squadron by transferring eight C-130H3 aircraft in fiscal year '13. The Air Force Reserve unit remains operational even though the Air Reserve Station is transferred from the Air Force Reserve to the Air National Guard.
· Niagara Falls, ARS, N.Y. - The Air Reserve Component Associate unit - composed of Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard - ends as part of the fiscal year '13 president's budget. The Air Force Reserve retires three C-130H2 aircraft in fiscal year '14 and eight more in fiscal year '17. However, eight C-130H3 aircraft are planned to be added to the Air Force Reserve unit during fiscal year '13.
· Pittsburgh ARS, Penn. - Drawdown one squadron by retiring six C-130H2 aircraft and transferring one C-130H2 in fiscal year '13. Air Force Reserve operations end and the Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station closes. However, Pittsburgh Air National Guard Base remains open.
· Pope AFB, N.C. - Retire one C-130H2 aircraft and add one C-130H2 in fiscal year '13.
· Tinker AFB, Okla. - Retire four KC-135 aircraft in fiscal year '13; however, unit remains operational.
· Westover ARB, Mass. - Transfer eight C-5Ms in fiscal year '16. Unit remains operational.
· Youngstown-Warren ARS, Ohio - Retire six C-130H2 aircraft and add four C-130H2.5 aircraft.
"Our future plans must ensure the total force can fulfill the nation's need for daily operations and a surge force in the new strategy," Stenner said. "DOD's goal is to balance force structure reductions with our ability to project power globally and to maintain our force readiness."
Within the next few weeks, the Air Force is scheduled to announce manpower changes caused by these structure changes.
In order for the planned reductions to take effect, they must be approved by Congress and signed into law by the president.
"We worked closely with our regular Air Force and Air National Guard partners to rebalance our total-force team," Stenner said. "In order to make our Air Force smaller, all three components had to find efficiencies and reductions - to get smaller together."
To view the Air Force overview listing all of the Air Force's planned changes, visit to: www.af.mil