The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military

Ali Base drawdown in full swing

by Master Sgt. Darrell Habisch
407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

1/11/2010 - ALI BASE, Iraq (AFNS) -- Ali Base is in full drawdown mode following the presidential directive to reduce the American military presence in Iraq, and to withdraw combat forces by December 2011.

The Air Force presence here will be less than one-third what it is today by the end of August, according to Col. Dennis Hunsicker, 407th Air Expeditionary Group deputy commander, deployed from the Delaware Air National Guard's 166th Airlift Wing at Newcastle.

The phased drawdown is designed to responsibly shift the Air Force mission from a combat posture to one of advice and assistance for the Iraqi military, who will assume control of Ali Base after the departure of combat troops.

Force reduction at Ali Base is accomplished through a variety of methods, including attrition, eliminating positions, cutting tours short and reassigning Airmen to other bases throughout Southwest Asia.

Although the number of Airmen at Ali Base is being reduced, the mission will remain the same.

"Our mission is always first," Col. Hunsicker said. "Our core competency is to maintain the airfield and the ability of the Air Force to operate in southern Iraq."

To ensure mission success and continuity, positions vacated by departing Airmen will be filled by contractors, many of whom will be Iraqi nationals.

"There will be a large mix of uniforms at Ali Base," Col. Hunsicker said. "Positions will be filled by other services and contractors. People need to get used to seeing many more local nationals working in key areas here."

In addition to people, equipment ranging from large rolling stock such as trucks and earth-moving equipment to office computers and printers are also being shipped to bases in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, as Airmen say goodbye to Ali Base, Soldiers from all over Iraq will be saying hello, at least for the short-term.

Ali Base's role as a transit hub will increase as thousands of Soldiers migrate from other locations in Iraq. This is in accordance with the drawdown plan to have no remaining combat forces in Iraq beyond 2011.

To help accommodate the influx of Soldiers, many Airmen soon will be billeted two to a room.

"We are partnering with the Army and the Navy to facilitate these Soldiers," said Colonel Hunsicker. "We need to free up bed space for people as they pass through here."

The end of the Air Force mission at Ali Base is in sight, according to Col. Hunsicker.

"Ali Base will not cease to exist," he said. "We will remain vibrant and operational until we turn the facilities over to a freely-elected Iraqi government in 2011."



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list