July 18, 2016
More of our force is being demanded, deployed longer than planned. Intended replacements are not keeping pace with attrition.”
Maj. Gen. Scott West, the director of current operations for the Air Force, said airmen are flying some aircraft and bombers — such as the B-52 Stratofortress — that are more than 50 years old.
That would be like using a WWII-era B-17 Flying Fortress in Operation Desert Storm, he said.
In addition to the current bombing campaign against the Islamic Stategroup in Iraq and Syria, the Air Force is focusing on four key areas, West said: nuclear deterrence; growing cyber capabilities; space operations; and improving intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance resources such as remotely piloted aircraft.
“To get to those four areas of operations, we had to make trades in people and our conventional air forces,” West said. “We made people trades that today has resulted in our first readiness issue and that is to address critical skills. That’s mainly in maintenance.”