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Air Force Struggling to Maintain Deployment Structure: The Air Force still is learning how the war in Afghanistan will affect deployment schedules for the service’s Aerospace Expeditionary Forces. Debuted in 1999, the Expeditionary Aerospace Force consists of 10 Aerospace Expeditionary Forces made up of packages of fighter, tanker and cargo aircraft tailored for specific missions. Recurring contingencies, such as Operations Southern and Northern Watches enforcing no-fly zones over Iraq, rely heavily on the AEF concept. “We plan to keep the AEF rotations to the normal three-month deployment period” during each 15-month period, said Maj. Robyn Chumley, spokeswoman for the Air Combat Command based at Langley Air Force Base, Va. The forces have an average 90-day deployment every 15 months. Chumley said if the current deployment posture becomes steady, some modifications to tour lengths or cycle time may be required. “These modifications will be carefully crafted with an eye toward returning to the current rotations as soon as conditions permit,” she said.

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