The Air Force needs to expand to 386 operational squadrons by 2030 in order to meet mission requirements, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson believes. Currently, the service has 312 operational squadrons.
“Our operational squadrons are the combat power of the Air Force,” Wilson said during a Sept. 17 state-of-the-service address at the 2018 Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference at Oxon Hill, Md.
Wilson also said that the service continues to make progress in addressing its maintainer shortage — which was as high as 4,000 in recent years. The shortage will be eliminated by the end of the year, she said.
The Air Force will continue to play a key role in defense of the nation’s space assets, Wilson said, in light of President Trump’s initiative to create a separate space force within the Defense Department. The service is restructuring its Space and Missiles Systems Center, and working with the other services to determine what a separate unified command for space should look like.