The basic concept of the AEF we use today was born of necessity after years of rotations between Operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch. High operations tempo (OPSTEMPO) forced us to update our Air Force-wide system of organizing, scheduling and presenting our forces to combatant commanders (CCDRs). Launched in 1998 by Gen Mike Ryan, CSAF, Cycle 1 of the AEF was 15 months long and included approximately 60,000 Airmen. Today the AEF operates on a 24-month schedule and includes over 300,000 Airmen. It remains fl exible to accommodate CCDR’s needs, whether for 4 months, 6 months, or 365 days.