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Sequestration Prompts Air Force To Ground Combat Aircraft

Airmen from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.
U.S. Air Force
Airmen from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

The U.S. Air Force will begin grounding some active-duty combat units starting today, as a result of sequestration cuts.

Air Combat Command announced today that the policy change will affect about one-third of the active-duty Combat Air Force aircraft based in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.

Gen. Mike Hostage, Air Combat Command commander, said units will stand down on a rotating basis so that only those heading to Afghanistan will be fully mission capable:

"Historically, the Air Force has not operated under a tiered readiness construct because of the need to respond to any crisis within a matter of hours or days. 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."

Units that are currently deployed will stand down once they return home. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard A-10 or F-16 squadrons that fly under "active associations" agreements will also be grounded.