Air Force Chief Talks of Shrinking Budgets, Post-Iraq Exhaustion

May 2, 2012

As it continues downsizing under tightening Defense Department budgets, the Air Force will give priority to operations and maintenance to make sure that "what remains will be ready and available to act," its chief of staff said.

Gen. Norton Schwartz also told an audience at the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan think tank, that Air Force operations and tactics are clearly better after two major conflicts and counterterrorism efforts, "but you can't ignore that fact that we are worn down by 10 years of war in terms of human and physical assets."

Unlike the Army and the Marines, the Air Force has been cutting back assets and personnel for a decade, Schwartz said at the Washington event on Tuesday, noting more than 500 aircraft have been retired and 25,000 airmen have been moved off the rolls. 

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