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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — A little more than 1,000 Pacific Air Forces logistics airmen will be trimmed from personnel rolls over the next two years, according to the service’s top logistics leader in the region.

Brig. Gen. Frank Bruno, PACAF’s director of logistics, said the logistics manpower reductions are part of the overall Air Force effort to cut end strength by about 40,000 jobs to meet new fiscal guidelines.

In logistics — which includes maintenance, transportation and supply — enlisted, officer and some civilian positions will be eliminated through attrition and “other personnel actions,” Bruno said during an interview at Misawa last week.

“What we’ve tried to do is be very forthright with the personnel who are going to be impacted,” he said.

Bruno was to speak at Misawa’s annual logistics professionals’ banquet Friday night, where those who excelled in the career field last year were to be honored.

“Logisticians throughout the command have had a banner year,” Bruno said.

Despite that success, Bruno said, “there’s no doubt if you take 1,000 plus people from your work force, it will impact our capability and it will impact our productivity.”

But, he added, the Air Force’s new Smart Operations 21 program hopefully will be a huge step toward mitigating those personnel cuts as airmen strive to adopt more efficient work strategies.

“What industry has proven to us — in particular, the Japanese and Toyota — is if you give your people great processes, they’re going to produce great products,” he said. “We are deep into looking at critical processes to figure out how we can lean those out.”

Smart Operations 21 changes have already begun, Bruno said, citing one example at Misawa where the phase docks crew over the last several months reduced the phase time for an F-16 from 10 days to five. Every fighter jet goes through a preventative-maintenance phase inspection after so many flight hours.

“I’ve been extremely impressed with what I’ve seen in the last couple days,” Bruno said of his Misawa visit.

Whether PACAF air crews can expect to see less flying time as the Air Force looks to trim the fleet’s flight hours by 10 percent in 2008 remains to be seen, Bruno said.

“No decisions have been made,” he said. “What I have told our planners … is to plan not for a specific number of flying hours or sorties but rather to plan for a range and plan our capability accordingly.”

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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