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Air Combat Command stands down units due to budget cuts

Posted 4/9/2013   Updated 4/10/2013 Email story   Print story

    


Air Combat Command Public Affairs

4/9/2013 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- The United States Air Force will begin to stand down active duty combat units starting today to ensure the remaining units supporting worldwide operations can maintain sufficient readiness through the remainder of the fiscal year.

The stand down is the result of cuts to the command's operations and maintenance account, which must be implemented in part by flying approximately 45,000 fewer training hours between now and October 1 than previously scheduled.

ACC, as the Air Force's lead for Combat Air Forces, manages the flying-hour programs for four major commands. This decision to stand down or curtail operations affects about one-third of the active-duty CAF aircraft--including those assigned to fighter, bomber, aggressor and airborne warning and control squadrons--stationed in the United States, Europe and the Pacific.

"We must implement a tiered readiness concept where only the units preparing to deploy in support of major operations like Afghanistan are fully mission capable," said Gen. Mike Hostage, ACC commander. "Units will stand down on a rotating basis so our limited resources can be focused on fulfilling critical missions."

"Historically, the Air Force has not operated under a tiered readiness construct because of the need to respond to any crisis within a matter of hours or days," Hostage said. "The current situation means we're accepting the risk that combat airpower may not be ready to respond immediately to new contingencies as they occur."

Some units currently deployed--including A-10s, B-1s, F-16s and F-22s--will stand down after they return from their deployments. The remaining units will stand down operations on April 9. Active-duty aircrews assigned to Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard A-10 or F-16 squadrons under an arrangement known as "active associations" will also stop flying.

The stand down will remain in effect for the remainder of fiscal year 2013 barring any changes to current levels of funding. "We're entering uncharted territory in terms of how we've had to take this year's cuts and make adjustments to mitigate the most serious impacts," Hostage said. "Remaining as mission-ready as possible for combatant commanders is our priority, and we're prioritizing spending to ensure this imperative is met."

Units that are stood down will shift their emphasis to ground training. They will use flight simulators to the extent possible within existing contracts, and conduct academic training to maintain basic skills and knowledge of their aircraft. As funding allows, aircrews will also complete formal ground training courses, conduct non-flying exercises and improve local flying-related programs and guidance.

Maintainers will complete upgrade training and clear up backlogs of scheduled inspections and maintenance as possible given budget impacts in other areas, such as stock of spare parts.

Although each weapon system is unique, on average aircrews lose currency to fly combat missions within 90 to 120 days of not flying. It generally takes 60 to 90 days to conduct the training needed to return aircrews to mission-ready status, and the time and cost associated with that retraining increases the longer that crews stay on the ground.
"This will have a significant and multi-year impact on our operational readiness," Hostage said. "But right now, there is no other acceptable way to implement these cuts."



tabComments
4/11/2013 10:02:39 AM ET
Although each weapon system is unique on average aircrews lose currency to fly combat missions within 90 to 120 days of not flying. It generally takes 60 to 90 days to conduct the training needed to return aircrews to mission-ready status and the time and cost associated with that retraining increases the longer that crews stay on the ground. This paragraph speaks volumes people It takes on the average 60 to 90 days to get crews mission ready Hello people. wake up. Our military needs to be ready at a moments notice to respond even more now than ever in this volatile world Congress and our president are basically making us sitting ducks. This is pretty scary. I come from a military family and have never seen our country in such a state.Have we all forgotten what our military has sacrificed for our freedoms
Donna, Louisiana
 
4/10/2013 1:41:19 PM ET
ACC is making a huge mistake...if ACC says they don't need to train them then they don't need to even have these aircraft and they will get cut permanently. Hope the COCOMs who depend on these aircraft for OPLANs don't mind.
jt, United States
 
4/9/2013 2:52:08 PM ET
If I dont do my job as an aircraft Maintainer I don't eat lunch I don't go home on time I don't get weekends or holidays and eventually I don't have a job and don't get payed. But congress who has failed to prevent this still does. Why are me and my guys as e-1 thru e-6's held to a higher standard than our civilian leadershipIts not that I do not cheeerish the oppoutunity to serve my nation its that congress congress seems to consider themselves and their personal needs higher than the nation. It Is a privilage to serve as a representative of the people of the USA. Take the money out of congress and whoever remains unpaid unreward and unappreciated is fit to lead.
gabe, ga
 
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