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CSAF discusses AEF role in during current build up

By Gen. John P. Jumper
Air Force Chief of Staff

Released: Jan. 29, 2003

WASHINGTON (USAFENS) -- The Air and Space Expeditionary Force structure is a powerful tool that has enabled us to successfully support long standing contingency operations. Sustaining on-going requirements with three-month rotations has become part of our Air Force culture. But we need to remember that the AEF structure also allows us to posture for a full range of combat operations, including major theater contingencies that require more forces than can be provided by one AEF pair on a three-month rotation. When the time comes to build a force bigger than one AEF pair and/or deploy it for a time frame that may exceed three-months, AEF is the mechanism that we use to select units who are best prepared to meet the needs of the situation. We now are reaching this point with our preparations for expanded operations in Southwest Asia.

The combined efforts of the entire Air Force team - active, reserve component, and civilians- are needed to meet the challenges of the coming weeks and months. With this in mind, I want to personally notify every airman that the time has come for us to begin to build up airpower in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to achieve national security objectives if directed, by our Commander-in-Chief. In keeping with the intent of Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld), we must interrupt our normal three-month AEF rotation cycle because the resources in a single AEF pair can no longer satisfy the needs of our combatant commands. Although AEF rotation timing will change, we will make every effort to preserve the AEF sequence, which will give us the ability to sustain our operations over the long term. When able, we will return to a more normalized three-month AEF battle rhythm.

Active duty and mobilized reserve airmen deployed as members of AEF 7/8 or deploying to the AOR as part of current crisis taskings, should anticipate remaining in place until further notice. Deployed/deploying mobilized reserve airmen will be extended on active duty as necessary. I assure you that we will continue to assess the evolving situation and develop rotation plans, which seek to relieve our forces in the most equitable fashion while still meeting combatant commanders' warfighting requirements. Reserve component airmen supporting our efforts are critical contributors; we will continue to utilize volunteers to the greatest possible extent. As necessary, extension of mobilization orders for deployed/deploying reserve airmen, and new mobilizations, will be worked in accordance with established laws and regulations.

Our success as an Air Force depends on how we prepare for and execute operations. I know this is a lot to ask and I am confident that every airman understands we have been called upon once again by our nation. I have never been prouder of our Air Force and of the great men and women that bring America's resolve to the doorsteps of those who would seek to inflict harm upon us and our allies. I know you are all equal to the task and I look forward to seeing our great Air Force continue to successfully defend American values and freedoms.

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