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December 20, 2007— A few years into the Air Force's personnel drawdown, the process has gone a lot better than the service's personnel chief would have imagined. Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, who has been nominated to lead US Air Forces in Europe, told reporters Dec. 18 that airmen "have taken some bad news a lot better than they could have."

There aren't many fields that have been left unscathed by the process, whether through cuts or forced retraining. And, there are some that were heavily tasked before that are still getting hit hard.

Some ground transportation and explosive ordnance disposal airmen and air traffic controllers have all seen their workload increase due to continuing high demand. In those areas, the Air Force is starting to see challenges that must be addressed for enlisted personnel that are six to 10 and 10 to 14 years into their careers, Brady noted. He said that these NCOs comprise the core of the EOD force and in the coming years there needs to be some effort to focus on retaining this group of airmen to keep experience in those fields. "As we go forward, we will be focusing on re-enlistment bonuses in those areas," Brady said.

Some Specialties Will Grow
With the Army and Marine Corps set to plus up their end strength by a combined 92,000, and the Army seeking to speed up their increase, the Air Force is meeting regularly with officials of both services. "As the Army firms up their plans for exactly what that force is going to look like, then we have a better idea what we need," Brady said.

He pointed out that budgets will more than likely have to change as requirements shift and in all likelihood the Air Force will need more air liaison officers, more air controllers, and more intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance capability, in addition to more mobility assets.

Right now, the Air Force is in "pretty good shape" for people in the mobility world, said Brady, adding, though, that a realignment could be in the making.

He noted that the service is also continuing to look at how the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve are used in the mobility area. However, as the force has an opportunity to grow in some areas, the Air Force is keen on avoiding any kind of compromise on the recapitalization of the fleet, Brady added.