Air Force Realignment to Trim Headquarters Staffing

The Air Force will deactivate and realign organizations at its headquarters, major commands, numbered air forces and field operating agencies as part of a cost-cutting effort that would eliminate 3,459 positions at headquarters across the service, officials announced Monday.  

The changes, a result of a comprehensive effort to reduce overhead costs, increase efficiencies, eliminate redundant activities and improve effectiveness and business processes, will help the service meet a Pentagon directive to reduce costs and staff levels by at least 20 percent. The reorganization is projected to save $1.6 billion in the next five years.

The service’s goal is to surpass the 20 percent reduction mandated by DOD, so any additional savings can be achieved from staff functions above the wing level and set to provide additional combat capability to the combatant commanders, according to a press release.

“We are aggressively pursuing reductions within the first year, rather than spread them out over five years as allowed by DOD,” said Secretary Deborah Lee James. “It’s better for airmen, because it provides them predictability and allows us to re-stabilize our workforce sooner. It also allows us to harvest the savings earlier so that we can plow it back into readiness and some of our key modernization programs.”

The largest initiative officials announced was the consolidation of installation and mission support activities within a newly created Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, which will account for the loss of 923 positions across the service. Eight U.S. installations would lose more than 100 positions as a result of the realignments announced Monday, according to an Air Force slide:

  • Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. (742 positions);
  • Joint Base San Antonio, Texas (429 positions);
  • Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio (372 positions);
  • Scott AFB, Ill. (292 positions);
  • Peterson AFB, Colo. (275 positions);
  • Robins AFB, Ga. (258 positions);
  • Hickam AFB, Hawaii (238 positions); and
  • Barksdale AFB, La. (167 positions)

Officials also will realign several functions that report to headquarters in an effort to better support combatant commanders, realign some field operating agencies to operational major commands and merge forward operating agencies with similar missions while deactivating others. The Air Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency will be realigned from headquarters Air Force as a forward operating agency to become part of a new operational numbered air force under Air Combat Command.

As part of ongoing cost-savings initiatives, the service also will continue to reduce contract spending, operating budgets and travel expenditures, according to the release.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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