In the spending request sent to Congress in February, the Air Force proposed cuts of 5,100 Guardsmen and 900 Reserves along with additional active duty reductions of 3,900.
The reserve component plan -- especially the cuts to the Guard -- sparked a political firestorm as congressional leaders across the nation filed protests.
As a result, the Air Force has backed off of cuts to the Guard, including 50 positions in Georgia and 22 slots in the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base.
Outgoing Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz chose his words carefully during a recent briefing to the Air Force Association.
Schwartz, the first nonfighter pilot to lead the Air Force since 1982, said there will "continue to be a place" for both active duty and reserve components. He also stressed the need for balance between the two elements.
Then, according to the AFA account, he expressed hope that the rancor would subside in the near future, opening the door to approach the issue in a "more dispassionate way."
"We will have the opportunity to collectively, collaboratively, collegially adjust our force mix in both traditional and imaginative ways," Schwartz related in the AFA account.
He said the nation is asking the military to execute its missions with fewer resources ... and the way to do that is by "getting smaller and maintaining quality in all three components."
Last week, during a confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate, Air Force Chief of Staff nominee Gen. Mark Welsh III said he would work closely with the Guard "so that we never end up here again."
Welsh, a fighter pilot, stressed that he was not part of the decision process that resulted in the proposed cuts. But he indicated that, "All parties involved must move beyond the acrimony of the past months.
"We are in a place we cannot stay," he added.