One-third of United States Air Force combat units are beginning a “stand down” process as a way to handle the cuts to flight hours that are being made due to the budget cuts in sequestration.
“We must implement a tiered readiness concept where only the units preparing to deploy in support of major operations like Afghanistan are fully mission capable,” Air Force Gen. Mike Hostage, who leads the Air Combat Command, said. “The current situation means we’re accepting the risk that combat airpower may not be ready to respond immediately to new contingencies as they occur.”
The Air Combat Command plans to cut 45,000 flight training hours between now and October 1, according to the Armed Forces Press Service (AFPS). “Some units currently deployed — including A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, B-1 Lancers, F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-22 Raptors — will stand down after they return from their deployments,” AFPS explained. “The remaining units stand down today.”