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WASHINGTON — The Air Force will spend nearly $1 billion less in military construction in fiscal 2008 to pay for more training and operations, but officials still plan to build or renovate more than 2,100 overseas housing units.

Air Force officials vowed to build and improve housing units at eight overseas locations, including Ramstein Air Base in Germany; RAF Bicester and RAF Menwith Hill in the United Kingdom; and Kadena Air Base, Misawa Air Base and Yokota Air Base in Japan.

The service’s $110.7 billion budget is a 5.9 percent increase from the fiscal 2007 budget, and includes $3.2 billion more in readiness spending for things such as increased fuel costs, more spare aircraft parts and higher utilities costs.

Maj. Gen. Frank Faykes, the Air Force deputy assistant secretary for budget, said service officials have made cuts in that area in recent years to help pay for long-term modernization projects. As a result, this year officials put extra emphasis on fully funding those areas.

To help offset that increase, officials trimmed 45 percent from the fiscal 2007 construction fund, allotting $5.2 billion for housing replacement and improvement work. Plans call for privatizing of 44,600 Air Force housing units in the U.S. — 72 percent of all the service’s domestic housing — which would save about $900 million.

The fiscal 2008 budget includes money for a 3.0 percent pay raise for all airmen and civilian personnel, and would drop the active-duty end strength by 5,600 to 328,000. The reserve would drop by 7,400 to 67,500, but the service plans on adding nearly 1,700 civilian personnel to offset some of those jobs.

Plans call for the construction of 24 unmanned Predator aircraft and five of the larger Global Hawk unmanned planes.

Along with more long-term funding for development of joint service aircraft, the fiscal 2008 budget will also order 20 F-22A Raptors, nine C-130J cargo planes, and six of the joint strike fighter F-35A Lightning II aircraft.


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