Air Expeditionary Force 2 (AEF-2)
Each aerospace expeditionary force has a "lead" wing that provides contingency leadership. The lead wings provide commanders, if tasked to provide group- or wing-level leadership to a new deployed location. Five wings provided "on call" mobility operations for responding to humanitarian relief operations, disaster responses and noncombatant evacuation operations from hostile areas.Until the aerospace expeditionary forces firmly established themselves, two on-call wings provided rapid global response. They share the responsibilities and respond within 48 hours to meet unplanned "pop-up" contingencies. These wings will alternate on a 60-day schedule
The concentration of the first cycle was early notification, predictability, and stability for airmen. The goal of having 120 days deployment notice was fine-tuned.
The UTCs during Cycle 2 were very large and were to meant meet the strategy of being able to fight two major theater wars at the same time. So UTCs were redesigned to reflect the demands of the current world environment. The redesign effort focused on building modular, scalable UTCs that allowed force providers to respond to the full spectrum of military operations.
For Cycle 3, the Air Force tried, as much as possible, to get the AEFs back on a 90 day rotation. For AEFs 1 and 2, only 648 (about 3.1 percent) deployed beyond 90 days. The ANG participation in AEF 1/2 included 2,000 deployed personnel. With smaller, scalable UTCs, many of the teams deployed for AEF Cycle 3 came from a single base, rather than individual members deployed from many bases. During Cycle 3, the Air Force wanted to continue to improve quality of life, enhance retention efforts and make deployments better for airmen.
Cycle 4 AEF Blue
In order to put the AEF deployment schedule back on track, after operating in crisis mode during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Air Force established two transitional AEFs. These AEFs, designated AEF Blue and Silver, replaced AEFs 1-6 during Cycle 4. The temporary AEFs lasted 120 days instead of the usual 90. AEF Blue began in July of 2003 and ran through November. AEF Silver picked up operations in November of 2003 and ran through February of 2004. In March of 2004, the regular AEF rotation resumed with AEF 7/8.
Beginning with AEF Cycle 5 in September 2004, the baseline deployment was 120 days verses 90, and the AEF cycle changed from a fifteen-month rotational cycle to a twenty-month cycle. The 20-month cycle continued to provide commanders and Airmen the ability to plan ahead, allowing a sense of predictability while providing greater continuity to the in-theater commander.
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