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Superintendent announces Academy fiscal 2015 budget impact

Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson takes questions from Pam Zubek, a reporter with the Colorado Springs Independent, March 3, 2014, during a meeting with media representatives from Colorado Springs and Air Force Times. The general made public the Academy's fiscal year 2015 budget impact March 4, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Kenneth Bellard)

Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson takes questions from Pam Zubek, a reporter with the Colorado Springs Independent, March 3, 2014, during a meeting with media representatives from Colorado Springs and Air Force Times. The general made public the Academy's fiscal year 2015 budget impact March 4, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Kenneth Bellard)

U.S. Air Force Academy -- Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson announced on March 4 how the fiscal year 2015 budget, if enacted by Congress, will impact the Academy.

Included among the fiscal 2015 cuts and restructuring are the loss of 99 manpower positions and some programmed funding.

Specifically, the Academy will begin the process of eliminating 10 academic majors, cutting three academic courses from graduation requirements, and various cost-saving measures in its athletic programs.

"As the secretary of the Air Force highlighted, changing global missions, national security concerns and ongoing budget challenges are driving the Air Force to become a leaner force," Johnson said. "We at the Air Force's Academy share in the challenge to size our force with the right balance of skills to meet Air Force mission requirements.

"As we considered what that balance would be, we focused on the timeless principles of value -- the essence of our Academy -- to establish requirements and priorities to make fact-based decisions," she said. "We continue to be committed to providing a rigorous, accredited bachelor of science degree, while focusing our cadets on the Air Force missions in air, space and cyberspace. The decisions made here by our leadership team were in the best interest of our nation, our Air Force and our Academy."

Specifically, the Cadet Wing will maintain its current structure of four groups and 40 squadrons ,but will eliminate one Academy military trainer per squadron, 40 enlisted personnel positions, and will eliminate several cadet programs.

The Academy will maintain its Operation Air Force program, which allows cadets to visit active duty Air Force bases and be immersed in Air Force culture to learn about the Air Force mission, and the Service Academy Exchange program.

"Preserving the Cadet Wing structure and Operation Air Force preserves 72 high-level leadership opportunities for our cadets and this goes right to the Academy's essence," said Brig. Gen. Gregory Lengyel, the commandant of cadets.

"What makes us unique are the Academy's distinctive opportunities that allow cadets to practice leadership and learn from their experiences," he said. "Daily leadership challenges and opportunities abound to learn and apply leadership principles. It was a priority to ensure we maintained as many of these opportunities as possible."

For the Dean of Faculty, who will lose 29 manpower positions (20 military, nine civilian), these reductions will begin the process of creating a new curriculum with 10 fewer majors and three fewer courses required for graduation. These cuts will be phased-in over the next three years, as opposed to all in 2015, so commitments made to current cadet classes can be maintained.

"The decision on which courses to cut was conducted in a deliberate, thoughtful, faculty-centric curriculum process.” said Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost, the dean of the faculty. “This was not easy but it was the right decision and one rooted in methodical, meticulous thought and discussion. It is important to note that this review of curriculum reduction continues today. Despite the changes, there is every expectation to believe that our cadets will continue to be intellectually challenged on their path to becoming officers in our Air Force.

"Likewise, providing supplemental learning resources outside of the traditional classroom isn't a 'nice to have,' but essential to student learning and is especially critical for cadets," he said. "The daily commitments outside of academics often prevent them from seeking extra teaching from their primary instructor during normal duty hours and these are services we will continue to provide."

The Academy's Athletic Department will lose 30 civilian positions, with a 10 percent funding cut across all 27 intercollegiate sports. The Academy will use a business-like approach to athletics and integrate the Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation to ensure the continued success of its athletic programs.

"We worked hard to maintain as many competitive athletic opportunities as possible, be it intercollegiate, intramurals or club sports," said Dr. Hans Mueh, the Academy's athletic director. "Competition enhances our cadets' determination, demands commitment and teaches life lessons that will build skills and resiliency while shaping cadets into more capable leaders."

Johnson who was once an Academic All-American on the Academy women's basketball team agreed that competition enhances the development of leaders.

"We are absolutely committed to providing a wide range of competitive experiences and challenges that require cadets to balance academic, intercollegiate, team, club, intramural, military and airmanship opportunities," Johnson said.

The Academy will also eliminate 44 additional civilian manpower positions beginning in fiscal year 2016 and lasting through fiscal 2018 as a result of the Office of the Secretary of Defense-directed Civilian Workforce Review. These reductions will be realized by reducing administrative support, restructuring various support activities, and a more efficient computer network system.

"We cannot produce future Air Force officers without our talented and valued civilian workforce," Johnson said. "We are making difficult choices and have a successful track record of using voluntary measures to achieve reductions whenever possible. At this time, we are not certain whether a reduction in force will be necessary. We are pursuing all available voluntary force management measures with the goal of avoiding non-voluntary measure.

“To that end, we have taken steps to minimize adverse impacts on our civilian workforce by implementing a hiring freeze to create vacancies through normal attrition,” she said. “Every vacancy brings us one position closer and reduces the possibility for a reduction in force. Should the need arise we intend to request voluntary early retirement and separation incentive authority to stimulate additional vacancies."

To help reduce the Air Force by approximately 25,000 Airmen and 550 aircraft, the Academy is fully engaged in more than 18 programs to do its part in voluntarily and involuntarily reducing its active military personnel strength. An estimated 1,000 officers and enlisted Academy Airmen will be eligible for these voluntary and involuntary programs. Academy leaders are ensuring all Airmen receive the most accurate and up-to-date information to help them make the best career decisions and that the essence of the academy is maintained throughout this time of tough cuts.

"As the Academy continues to evolve during these uncertain times, our purpose is to produce leaders who are exceptionally well-prepared to lead in a complex, challenging, technically sophisticated and ever-changing geopolitical environment," Johnson said. "This singular purpose is embedded in each cadet activity and yields leadership development that is greater than the sum of its parts."

For more information visit the myPers website and search “Civilian Workforce Shaping Videos” and “FY14 Force Management Programs.”

Eliminated majors:

-- Basic Sciences

-- Biochemistry

-- Materials Chemistry

-- General Engineering

-- Environmental Engineering

-- Humanities

-- Philosophy

-- Social Science

-- Systems Engineering Management

-- Meteorology

Remaining majors:

-- Aeronautical Engineering

-- Foreign Area Studies

-- Behavioral Sciences

-- Biology

-- Astronautical Engineering

-- English

-- Economics

-- Chemistry

-- Civil Engineering

-- Geospatial Science

-- Computer Science

-- Computer Engineering

-- History

-- Legal Studies

-- Mathematics

-- Electrical Engineering

-- Management

-- Mil Strategy

-- Political Science

-- Operations Research

-- Physics

-- Mechanical Engineering

-- Systems Engineering

(Courses to be cut from graduation requirements are uncertain as of now)

Eliminated cadet programs:

-- Air Education Training Command leadership exchange

-- Philmont Rangers

-- Joint service training programs

Remaining programs and club sports:

(Clubs are operated under Cadet Wing authority. "@" indicates a club that also had an athletic department team.).

-- Cycling

-- Fast pitch softball

-- Fitness

-- Fly fishing

-- Women's golf

-- Ice hockey@

-- Judo

-- Karate

-- Women's lacrosse

-- Marathon

-- Mountaineering

-- Paintball

-- Racquet club

-- Rodeo

-- Men's rugby

-- Women's rugby

-- Sailing

-- Scuba

-- Alpine skiing

-- Skiing (freestyle and snowboard)

-- Nordic skiing

-- Soccer@

-- Sport climbing

-- Open water swimming

-- Tae Kwon Do

-- Team handball

-- Trap and Skeet

-- Triathlon

-- Ultimate Frisbee

-- Women's volleyball

-- Men's volleyball

-- Women's water polo

-- Bodybuilding

-- Powerlifting

-- Weightlifting

Intercollegiate sports

( An "@" does not designate an NCAA sport, but a sport that is one that is in the National Collegiate Boxing Association)

-- Baseball

-- Men's basketball

-- Women's basketball

-- Boxing@

-- Men's cross country

-- Women's cross country

-- Men's fencing

-- Women's fencing

-- Football

-- Golf

-- Men's gymnastics

-- Women's gymnastics

-- Ice hockey

-- Lacrosse

-- Men's rifle

-- Women's rifle

-- Men's soccer

-- Women's soccer

-- Men's swimming and diving

-- Women's swimming and diving

-- Men's tennis

-- Women's tennis

-- Men's indoor/outdoor track and field

-- Women's indoor/outdoor track and field

-- Water Polo

-- Wrestling

-- Volleyball

Voluntary active duty force management programs:

1. CMSgt/SNCO Voluntary Early Retirement

2. Enlisted Temporary Early Retirement Authority

3. Enlisted Voluntary Separation Pay Program

4. Officer Temporary Early Retirement Authority

5. Officer Voluntary Separation Pay Program

6. Officer Voluntary Selective Early Retirement


1. CMSgt Retention Board

2. Enlisted Quality Force Review Board

3. SNCO/TSgt/SSgt/SrA Retention Boards

4. Enlisted Date of Separation Roll-Back I & II

5. Officer Selective Early Retirement Board

6. Officer Enhanced Selective Early Retirement Board

7. Officer Reduction In Force Board

8. Officer Force Shaping Board

(Information courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Academy public affairs)


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