Reductions necessary to recapitalize today's service

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein
  • Air Force News Service
Reducing the number of Airmen in the service is never easy business, but it's absolutely necessary to recapitalize today's service, said the Air Force's top personnel officer Sept. 26 at the annual Air Force Association's Air and Space Conference here.

"This is a challenging time for all people in the Air Force," said Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady. "Our job is to get the right people in the right places, and make sure they are optimally trained, educated and equipped to be more agile with fewer people."

General Brady discussed the service's force shaping initiative, which mainly affected the officer corps earlier this year with the force-shaping of more than 3,000 lieutenants. The enlisted corps will soon face downsizing as well.

Overall, about 40,000 people will leave the service over the next three years. The money saved will go toward recapitalizing the service's aging aircraft and equipment.

"When I joined the Air Force, we had almost a million people," he said. "Now, we're going down to 315,000. Over the years, we've evolved as a service, and this is a part of that evolution."

General Brady also talked about training in his speech, focusing on future career development opportunities, as well as changes to current ones.

"Officer internship is of great importance to me," he said, "but it's an area that had very little restraint. At one point, we had as many as 7,000 people in internships around the force -- that's almost as many people who attend Air University."

He said that in most cases, the officers would be sent to school right after their internship, which "doesn't make sense. That's not an effective way to do business." By next year, only 50 officers will be in internship positions.

As for the enlisted corps, they can expect a greater push for higher education from their leaders.

"Hands down, our enlisted force is the best that ever existed," he said. "And a lot more is going to be expected of them in the future. They're going to find themselves in positions where a bachelor's degree will be necessary."

He said in the past, the push has always been for enlisted Airmen to receive their associate's degree from the Community College of the Air Force.

"But that's just not enough. Chief (Master Sgt. of the Air Force) Rodney McKinley is very supportive of this as well, and we're both trying to figure out how to make it easier for enlisted Airmen to pursue their education."