AF Secretary: Active, Guard, Back Again

NGAUS Washington Report
April 24, 2018

The secretary of the Air Force says it should be easier for airmen to move from the active component to the reserve component and back again if that’s what best suits their career or life situation. It would also make it easier for the Air Force to retain trained and experienced people.

During a speech last week at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., Heather Wilson said longstanding policies have made such moves unnecessarily difficult, according to Air Force Times, which covered her speech.

“One of the things I do think we need to think about . . .  is making it easier to come and go from the service . . . so it’s more part time and full time,” she said. Easing such movements would allow people to “manage their careers and their lives better,” she said.

As an example, she used an airman facing deployment who has an ailing parent. She said the service should figure out how to let that airman deal with the personal issue and return later.

“We should make that easier,” she said. “It gives flexibility to people to manage their lives and their careers, and allows us to keep talent.”

She also said budget caps known as sequestration deeply damaged the service. She said the Air Force had 134 fighter squadrons in 1991, but only 56 today when the demand for air power is greater.

Sequestration is directly to blame, she continued, for the loss of 10 squadrons and 30,000 people during a time when intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is in greater demand.

“That’s a huge change that the Air Force was put through as a result of sequester, and a significant drop in the Air Force budget,” she said. “I think that sequester has done more to damage the Air Force than anything our adversaries have done.”