—Tamar A. Mehuron
Sept. 26, 2006—Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, the Air Force's top personnel officer, describes the impending personnel cuts in terms of the development challenges facing USAF. He told attendees Tuesday at AFA's Air & Space Conference in Washington that there are three jobs: Job #1 is to win the war on terrorism; job #2 is to develop and take care of the service's airmen; job #3 is to modernize and recapitalize equipment. Here is the crunch: The money to recapitalize will come from cutting 40,000 personnel over the next three years.
“We’re about halfway through the pissed off stage” in terms of the drawdowns, said Brady. He explained that USAF cut 30,000 two years ago, another 20,000 this year, and expects to cut 15,000 in 2007 under the accelerated reduction plan. "We’re at 350,000, we’re going to 316,000 airmen," said Brady.
"I’m confident we will do this and make this work," he added, but he said that his biggest concern is that the service hasn't cut enough from headquarters. Instead, he said: "We ripped the hell out of the wings. At the wing level, we’ve got more folks doing ancillary duties than primary duties.”
Brady acknowledged that the some areas, such as manpower and personnel, took huge hits. However, he said USAF is keeping an eye on capabilities. In personnel offices, he said, “We have a heavy footprint back here that is not forward deployed. So we tried to tap various tools such as reachback, use of the Web, etc., to deal with these cuts” while still retaining capability.
Even with the drawdown in personnel, Brady said that the Air Force does not envision reducing the operations tempo. However, he noted that “USAF’s skirts are not all clean” in this regard, because some fields, such as security forces, are heavily tasked, while others are less so.
Within some fields, only 40 percent of those available have deployed, while 20 percent have deployed twice. "We are incredibly stressed in pockets," admitted Brady, adding, "I don’t think we’re using our people as effectively as we could.”
Daily Report: The day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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