Air Force to do more with less

MONTGOMERY, Ala.'The Air Force is reducing its total head count by more than 40,000 over the next 15 months, with at least 8,000 of that number coming from communications and information functions.

Gen. John Corley, the Air Force's vice chief of staff, said the reductions are intended to free up money to cover the cost of recapitalizing the service's aging fleet of aircraft.

The average age of all Air Force planes is 24 years, and KC-135 tankers used to refuel planes in flight are 45 years old on average. Even newer craft aren't exactly "new"'the F-117 is 20 years old, the B-2 stealth bomber is more than a dozen years old, and the service's satellites average more than 10 years old, Corley said at the Air Force Information Technology Conference.

Lt. Gen. Michael Peterson, the Air Force's chief of warfighting integration and CIO, reiterated the theme in his keynote speech.

"I believe we have the single most important job in the Air Force," Peterson said. "We can free up resources for recapitalization."

Peterson listed a number of areas where the use of IT has reduced costs, streamlined manpower or saved on new expenditures, among them:
  • Hosting all Air Force web client content on the Air Force portal, which eliminates 1,100 Webmaster positions at major commands around the globe and frees up 1,000 to 2,000 Web content managers to take on other assignments;
  • Migrating or eliminating 511 legacy systems generated $8 billion in cost avoidance;
  • Modernizing financial services trimmed 448 positions;
  • Consolidating and centralizing network operations generated $935 million in savings; and
  • Making use of the IT Commodity Council's consolidated buys, which has produced a 700 percent return on investment over the past three years.

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