Air Force Public Affairs Agency - October 31, 2011, By Senior Master Sgt. David Byron
10/31/2011 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force vice chief of staff provided the Air Force perspective on readiness in an age of austerity to the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Readiness here Oct. 27.
Gen. Phil Breedlove joined his Army, Navy and Marine Corps counterparts in discussing the challenges expected as the services look to find big budget savings over the next 10 years.
"These are challenging times," Breedlove said. "The Air Force has been at war for more than two decades."
Before joint operations began in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, the general said the Air Force was already continuously rotating forces to the region to enforce no-fly zones over Iraq following the end of the first Gulf War.
Today, the Air Force operates with 34 percent fewer aircraft and roughly 26 percent fewer people than it had when the first Gulf War started, Breedlove said. Meanwhile, the operations tempo has only increased, with no expectation of lessening in the future.
The increased tempo has stressed the service, leading to a slow but steady decline in unit readiness since 2003, he said.
The Air Force has also had to expand or add additional mission capabilities during the current conflicts, Breedlove said.
"We have been asked to support this joint team in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance," he said. "We've also been asked to build an increased capacity in special operations, and we will continue to meet both of those requirements."
However, doing so is made all the more difficult by the pressing need to recapitalize the aging fighter, tanker and bomber fleets, the general said.
To view the full document at the source publication, go to http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123277980.
The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.