USAFE to inactivate 17th AF, take on Africa mission

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Seventeenth Air Force, the air component for U.S. Africa Command, will stand down Friday, April 20 in a ceremony here where the unit is headquartered. U.S. Air Forces in Europe will be designated as the new air component for AFRICOM. As with day-to-day operations in U.S. European Command, 3rd Air Force will be responsible for day-to-day activities in AFRICOM's area of responsibility. Gen. Carter Ham, U.S. Africa Command commander and presiding officer, will transfer the responsibility from 17th Air Force to USAFE and 3rd Air Force.

The inactivation for 17th Air Force is one of the first visible steps in the Secretary of Defense-directed command restructuring. The inactivation comes after more than a year of preparation for the directed consolidation. Members of 17th Air Force, USAFE and 3rd Air Force started integrating in October 2011. The 603rd Air and Space Operations Center, aligned under USAFE's 3rd Air Force, will assume the command and control mission of U.S. air operations in both Europe and Africa as part of the consolidation.

Media organizations interested in covering this event should contact USAFE Public Affairs Office at 06371-47-6558 or DSN 314-480-6558, by Tuesday, April 17.