By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Air Force on Friday detailed plans to cut the service by nearly 10,000 active, National Guard and Reserve airmen next year, as part of a broad move to downsize and shift capabilities around the country to be better prepared for wars of the future.
More than half of the personnel cuts, and much of the aircraft and other equipment moves, will be borne by the Air Guard, triggering criticism from the National Guard Association.
The Air Force said the service cannot absorb any further cuts in active duty forces because that would limit their ability to respond to multiple crises.
Overall, about 3,900 active duty, 5,100 Air Guard and 900 Air Force reserves would be cut in the next year.
Noting that senior defense leaders have said the planned $487 billion in budget cuts over the next 10 years will mean more reliance on the reserves, Guard association president, Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett Jr. said this plan "reduces the Air Force's ability to quickly respond to unforeseen contingencies in the future."
Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz also laid out details of how the cuts will affect units and bases all across the country, including plans to get rid of dozens of aircraft and, in many cases, shift others in to take their place.
Air Force decisions: http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120203-027.pdf
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