Thursday, July 24, 2008

Force(d) Shaping

Air Force officials announce 2008 force-shaping plans
Nov-Dec 2007

WASHINGTON -- Air Force officials recently announced plans to meet the 2008 fiscal year end-strength of 328,600, which calls for a force reduction of about 5,400 officers and enlisted members through normal attrition, retirement, or force-shaping measures.

"For the enlisted force, we will be able to use the tools we have in place to adjust and keep the force balanced," Armentrout said. "As we go through the year, we assess [the process], and if it doesn't look like the goal is going to materialize, we'll look at waiving service commitments for enlisted."

Click here for the full article

Air Force charts new course for 2009 force shaping

6/12/2008 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- Air Force officials here currently are deciding how to carry out force shaping plans in the coming year following an announcement by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates Monday to halt personnel cuts.

The halting of force reductions does not mean those officers and enlisted members already in the pipeline to separate will be required to stay, Colonel Armentrout said. "We're not talking large numbers here," he said. "We're talking about staying where we are [in terms of personnel numbers] for 2009, and then increasing slightly to 330,000 in 2010."

Click here for the full article.

So now, is it me, or do these two articles appear to end the people slashing?? Cut people. Stop cutting people. Simple, yes?

Since the group of AF parents to which I belong already knows of Airmen who have been involuntarily separated (given an Entry Level Separation ELS) in the past couple of weeks, I was prompted to write about this trend. You would think that with the sampling of ELS's we've seen, the group would be sizable... it isn't even all that big!

I also have to share that this method of Force Shaping simply makes no sense to me.

There have been no offers of retraining for the Airmen I know (well, their parents), people who want to serve are being booted from AF BMT and Tech School for the most foolish of reasons, one Airman is "on hold" which is more like unending limbo, and even those who were selected for - and passed - highly specialized training have faced RIF-dom.

That must be the "tool" they have in place.
One swift kick in the pants and buh-bye.
Nice tool, eh?

From the mother of a young adult who is gleeful every time she declares her status as "Permanent Party", I hear what it means to these Airmen, and the pride they have in their role as part of the US Air Force. It would make anyone proud.

There has to be a better way to sift and proportion the Force to result in better balance without spending thousands of dollars to train people they then do not need and force to separate.

How about requiring higher ASVAB scores? It's a heck of a lot cheaper to deny someone entrance because they don't make the grade than it is to house, train and feed them for months before deciding they're not needed. I mean it's not like this Force Shaping edict is news. It's not.

The USAF is one of the best in the world. Why can't they get it together when it comes to accepting Airmen that they're willing to train to fill a necessary job?

*end rant*


Debbie said...


Welcome to my world, or the one I lived in for 20 years.

Welcome to the United States Military.

Marta said...

well you see people high up get distracted, spend to much or dont get the results they want, then get shit for it and finnaly try to make a quick fix. when theres a "quick fix" why put too much effort forward?
i mean hey, its basicaly an american state of mind- focus on the big problems, spend your money, and then fix it after the money is already spent... we tottaly have the cash for that right?
actually let me refrase that- we tottaly have the credit for that so lets do it and let our children/ service men and woment pay off the debt.
compleatly irrisponsible.

Tonjia said...

Breanna was Permanent Party too.. it didnt matter.

The USAF needs an upper level reconstruction thats for sure. I agree with your idea of requiring higher ASVABS. how about a hold on recruitment??

Lea said...

V and my understanding of Permanent Party must be different. BMT Grad? Tech School Grad?
No matter, really.

You're right Tonjia, there's some restructuring that needs to be done.

Can't hold recruitment in general because there are jobs that are still hurting for people (SF, for instance) as well as natural attrition/end-of-committment rates.

V and JP had very high ASVAB scores (85 and 89 respectively). I'm sure Bre did too! She's one smart cookie.

Now, if they'd only deal with all the knuckleheaded trouble makers they have... Grrrrr!

Lea said...

P.S. V says they also have their fair share of misogynist slackers too!

Oy Vey!

Zelda said...

Well said.