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Why is RAF Fairford reducing to squadron status and what is the rationale?

USAF wide budgetary constraints require all USAFE units to maximize efficiencies and analyze all areas of operations for savings. As a standby base, RAF Fairford can continue to meet its mission as a squadron.

How will the base respond to future operational or training deployments without the infrastructure, support and personnel currently in place?

USAFE and the 501st CSW are developing detailed plans that will allow time phased reinforcement of personnel and equipment remaining in place at Fairford. Utilizing forces from other USAFE bases, RAF Fairford will quickly be able to receive operational units to conduct offensive operations.

Is this a phased reduction ahead of full closure and what assurances can the United States give of the long term future?

There are no plans to close RAF Fairford. Force structure and basing throughout the US Air Force, and the Royal Air Force for that matter, are constantly reviewed for suitability. These analyses are valid so long as the planning assumptions and conditions remain stable. Long term assurances are therefore of little validity but, I say again, there is no consideration being given to closing RAF Fairford.

What will happen to the Royal International Air Tattoo following US drawdown?

COMUSAFE has given assurance that the US will continue to make RAF Fairford available to RAFCTE to conduct the Royal International Air Tattoo there in the future. As in the past, support will be provided to the organizers within the constraints of USAF mission priorities.

What will be the command and control structure post drawdown and who will replace the US commanders in the new structures?

A US civilian site manager at RAF Fairford will be the senior official responsible to the commander of the 422ABG.

What facilities for MOD staff will remain on the base i.e. catering, childcare, clubs etc.?

The current services squadron functions will greatly reduce, as they are provided primarily for the US force. It is planned that some on station messing capability will remain for those MOD and civil servant personnel still at RAF Fairford, based upon demand.

What will happen to the staff employed in base billeting and housing?

Base Housing will be unoccupied, and lodging will be in a standby status. Reduced staff will remain in order to conduct facility inspection and minor maintenance.

Why has the base been recruiting to fill certain positions in the knowledge that a drawdown was likely and will all new recruitments cease?

Until such time that the reduced footprint at RAF Fairford was approved at all levels of the US Dept of Defense and Host Nation Notification was provided to MoD, RAF Fairford continued to have a need to bring its MOD workforce to full strength.

What about US staff departures, as staff rotate out will MOD have to take on their work in addition to their own and will overtime be offered if required?

There will be some reductions in US civilian staff, however final disposition of responsibilities and personnel are still be worked and will be based on requirements to maintain desired infrastructure and mission goals.

Will MDP be retained to guard the site and will there remain a need for 24/7 fire protection?

Some MDP will remain in place, with a final force structure yet to be determined. As the base will no longer be open 24/7, some MDP posts will convert to MGS. These changes in operating hours will also drive necessary changes in the shift patterns and composition of the fire service at Fairford.

What is the effect of the base drawdown likely to be on the MOD civ staffs based at RAF Welford? Does Welford itself have a future if Fairford's mission is downsized?

RAF Welford has reached a steady state following a similar transformation process last year. Now aligned under the 422 ABG, its future is secure.

How has it been decided which functions are to go and those that remain?

USAFE and 501CSW and 420 ABG planners familiar with the mission at RAF Fairford have been conducting drawdown analyses since August of 2008. The final shape of the workforce at RAF Fairford will be based upon the vetting of this analysis and the additional analyses that are currently being studied.

What is the time frame for the drawdown and how much notice will staff affected by it be given?

The conversion of the 420ABG to the 420ABS will occur in October 2009. Personnel actions associated with the transformation, both on the MOD and USAF side, will be complete by 1 Oct 2010. Staff will be given at least the statutory minimum notice in line with MOD practice and UK employment law.

What assurances can the US give that the remaining base support functions will not be contractorized?

There are no plans to contract remaining base support functions at RAF Fairford. As is the case for any discussion about the future of any USAFE installation, assurances are only as valuable as the planning assumptions they are based upon. These assumptions can change, however there are presently no plans to contract further support functions at RAF Fairford.

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