Air Force will cut 10,000 airmen, bases

“These are directly connected with the force structure adjustments that we've undertaken,” Schwartz said Friday at a Pentagon briefing about the cuts to the Air Force.

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Among the services, the Army took the biggest hit in order grapple with a $487 billion cut over the next 10 years. The Pentagon released details of the first five years of the budget cuts on Thursday, which will be a reduction of $259 billion.

Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno acknowledged the Army had the biggest adjustment of the services at his briefing Friday, but said this was in some ways a correction after the Army grew the most over the past decade due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Odierno said that the Army troop level of 490,000 troops, down from 570,000 troops, will not result in a hollowed out force.

For the Air Force, Schwartz said that in addition to the reduction in airmen, he expected Air Force bases would be closed in the next round of the Base Realignment and Closures Commission (BRAC), which the Obama administration will request Congress enact with the 2013 budget.

Schwartz said in the last BRAC closure round in 2005, the Air Force identified an excess infrastructure of about 20 percent, but it did not close bases. Since then, he said, “it’s a fair presumption” there’s even more excess infrastructure as the number of Air Force aircraft has decreased by 500.