Air Force, Guard, Reserve: Can’t They All Just Get Along?
The National Commission on the Structure of
the Air Force has the tough job of figuring out how to size and organize
the Air Force for a future of shrinking budgets.
final proposal is due Feb. 1. But there are no guarantees that the work
of the commission will help end the bitter budget war between the Air
Force and its reserve components.
During the group’s final
hearing Jan. 9, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told the
commissioners that the next Air Force budget, for fiscal year 2015, will
“rely more heavily on the Guard and Reserve.” Her comments should be
reassuring to lawmakers who have pushed back on proposed cuts to the
Guard. The devil, as always, will be in the details.
Russell Rumbaugh, defense budget analyst at
the Stimson Center, noted that the Air Force submitted a fiscal year
2013 budget in which the active duty force absorbed 17 percent of the
unit cuts, even though 67 percent of Air Force personnel are on active
“Congress reacted furiously, forced a compromise, and
created a National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force to
report back before any further decisions are made,” Rumbaugh wrote in an
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