President Obama announced plans to reduce the size of the military across the board. In a move that is getting away from the policy of having the capability of conducting two wars at the same time, the armed forces will be structured to deal with matters on a concentrated basis. The military is to be reshaped between now and 2020 with an emphasis on countering terrorism.
The Air Force is one of the branches to be affected by this. Already there is plans to reduce programs and the possibility of closing some bases. The cuts may face challenges in Congress especially those who are concerned about their own districts.
In November, the Air Force had reduced its civilian workforce by over 7000. Many of these were in management and support staff. However, there may be some additional staff in nuclear enterprise, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Despite attempts to rein in hiring and spending earlier in the year, these staff reductions had to be made.
For future operations, the Air Force will be looking at trying to get U.S. allies more involved. The military branch has working agreements with several countries worldwide. If their budget decreases, they will need to rely on international support for operations. One example of what future military operations may look like is the bombing missions against Libya where leadership was given to European countries and the U.S. played a supporting role in the campaign.