Air Force Units To Slash Training Hours

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The U.S. Air Force is feeling the crunch of a budget strained by the global war on terror, and it's going to mean cutting flight experience by about 32,000 hours, the Air Combat Command (ACC) said last week. The Air Force's projected shortfall for fiscal year 2005 is about $3.7 billion. Cutting up to 60 percent of the year's remaining training flight hours will save about $272 million, according to the ACC. Several key units, such as F/A-22 units, test and training units, and the Thunderbirds, may be exempted from the cuts. "Our first priority is to protect combat capability," said Maj. Gen. Mike DeCuir, ACC director of operations. The cuts mean some units will lose 20 to 40 percent of their combat readiness, according to General DeCuir. "This reduction requires flexibility and teamwork," he said. "Everyone needs to focus on reducing the flying hours safely and efficiently."