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AIR FORCE SECRETARY PROFILES AIR FORCE OF 1995

 AIR FORCE SECRETARY PROFILES AIR FORCE OF 1995
 ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Air Force Secretary


Donald B. Rice said the Air Force would shrink from 205 active wings in 1988 to 100 active wings by 1995.
 Addressing the 1992 Air Force Association National Convention, Rice said that the Air Force of 1995 would consist of 150 wings, 100 active and 50 Air Guard and Air Force Reserve wings. Of the 100 active wings, 79 are "operational Air Force" wings, while 21 perform other functions, like training, testing and support.
 "We didn't grow overnight from a planned 26-1/2 Fighter Wing Equivalents to 150 wings," Rice said. In fact, the "Fighter Wing Equivalents" often used to describe the Air Force's slice of the Base Force never accurately described the size of the Air Force. That gauge "only captured about 25 percent of the active duty Air Force," he added.
 The new wing count is meant to actually reflect existing organizations throughout the Air Force. Some wings will be very large, as a result of Air Force restructuring and consolidation, and others will be much smaller. The Fighter Wing Equivalent was only a "concept," the secretary explained. In the case of the 150 wings, you can identify them and physically visit them.
 Fewer people and less infrastructure reflect the force structure changes that will have taken place by 1995, according to Rice:
 -- The bomber fleet will be down to about 170 operational bombers tailored for conventional war and regional conflicts. The Air Force will put precision conventional munitions on all three bomber platforms -- the B-2, B-1B, and B-52H -- and keep some nuclear capability. The B-2 stealth bomber will spearhead the force, with the B-1B as the backbone.
 -- Tanker aircraft numbers will drop only slightly. As forward basing shrinks, the need for mobility and long-distance deployments grows. The same principle applies to airlift. The capacity and capability of the C-17 transport will be required to replace aging C-141s.
 -- The F-22 fighter will be needed to establish uncontested control of the skies.
 -- As for overall fighter basing, several wings will be forward- based in Europe, with two to three more in the Pacific. The rest will operate from the United States.
 -- In the area of missiles, the results of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the president's agreement with Russian President Boris Yeltsin should lead to a force of 500 single-warhead Minuteman III missiles.
 According to Rice, the United States can easily afford the U.S. military's proposed base force. The military of the mid-1990s will cost only 3.5 percent of America's gross domestic product. Americans devote an average 5.8 percent of their household spending to property, life, and health insurance. "Shouldn't we be as prudent with the nation's security as we are in our personal lives," he said.
 Rice also stated that America's domestic well-being hinges on a stable international order. "America is safest and most prosperous in a world where people, goods and ideas move freely," he said. "That's why the mission of the Air Force -- to defend the United States through control and exploitation of air and space -- is of such consequence."
 Rice said that his goal was "a smaller, refocused Air Force, cutting-edge capable -- the world's most respected air and space force."
 -0- 9/16/92
 /CONTACT: Stephen P. Aubin, director of communications, Air Force Association, 703-247-5850/ CO: Air Force Association ST: District of Columbia IN: ARO SU:


KD -- DC010 -- 0059 09/16/92 11:06 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 16, 1992
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