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Thursday, June 5, 2008


For the uninitiated in the Air Force/military lifestyle, Dave and I are what you might consider "middle management". The tasks we do often involve having to tie Airman issues with "the bigger picture".

Example: "Ma'am, I'd like to deploy to Iraq and work with the Army." In this case, the Airman might never have been to Iraq or worked with the Army.

Me: "Well, the Pentagon just put out policy that all weather folks deploying to Iraq have to have Battlefield Airman training, so once you're through that training, we'll see what we can do."

[What the #$%^ is she talking about?]

Here's my point -- lately I've been bringing a lot of bad news to my Airmen from higher-headquarters directed policies that all tie back to Secretary Wynne and General Moseley having to trade in people for aircraft parts.

1.) As a reservist, you can only be activated approximately 3 out of every 4 years. After you've worked 1095 out of the past 1460 days, you have to deactivate. This is an effort to save manpower. This year we've had to tell 3 exceptional members of our reserve unit that their honorable service to the Global War on Terror is no longer possible after September.

2.) Reserve officers now have to wait extra time before becoming eligible for promotion to the next rank. This is an effort to save money.

3.) About 2 years ago, the Air Force underwent a MASSIVE personnel chop exercise that resulted in about 40,000 Airmen getting cut. Dave even had to wonder briefly if his job was secure. Air Force Weather took a lot of their cuts through their Reservists. There simply aren't as many jobs as there used to be. Another attempt to save money.

4.) With Active Duty taking massive cuts, the Reserves are so overfilled right now, a lot of opportunities for promotion and career growth are stunted. I've had to explain to 3 Air Force Sergeants why "now is not a good time to pursue that military commission you've been working so hard for". There's no room for new officers in weather right now.

At the same time, we're trying to modernize our force. Keeping our eyes on other world threats, the Air Force has been very aggressive in purchasing the new F-22 stealth fighters...some of manpower cuts has helped fund that.

Unfortunately, two things have taken a big bite out of the potential cost savings of cutting 40,000 Airmen:

1.) Rising Fuel Costs. Imagine how much fuel our aircraft take!

2.) The Army and Marine Corps needing more personnel. Before they actually received that additional manpower that President Bush promised in the 2007 State of the Union Address, the Air Force stepped in and helped out with some of the ground requirements. The Air Force is STILL helping with tasks such as convoy vehicle drivers and third-country national escorts.

So, in this Airman's opinion, we haven't gotten very far with these efforts.

Over the past year or so, our Air Force leadership has really been aggressive in making their cases for more F-22s and trying to show that we can perform all these missions with 40,000 less Airmen and minimal increases to our budgets.

Between their bold rhetoric, along with other things that have shined an ugly light on the Air Force = resignations today.

I fear that things in our Air Force are about to get much worse. Here's hoping the interim leadership exercises good judgement!

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At Friday, June 6, 2008 at 3:40:00 AM CDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

civilian leadership making good judgement on military matters.. you're joking, right? war on the cheap.. right.....


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