Proposal to Cut Active-Duty Air Force Would Free up Funds for Equipment and Training
The math is still a bit fuzzy on exactly how much money the U.S. Air Force could save if it shifted jobs from the active-duty force to the National Guard and Reserve. But there are, for sure, big savings to be had, insists retired Marine Corps general Dennis M. McCarthy.
McCarthy, chairman of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force, pressed his case during a meeting with reporters Jan. 31 following the release of the panel’s provocative report, which calls for a significant transfer of responsibilities from the active to the reserve force.
Air Force leaders have wrestled for years over ways to cope with financial pressures, such as the rising cost of airmen compensation and benefits, and the impact that these programs could have on other portions of the service’s budget. They worry that, in the face of flat or declining budgets, the cost of people will eat into big-ticket weapons that the Air Force wants to buy over the coming decades.
Military analyst Russell Rumbaugh, who appeared before the commission last year, called the panel’s proposals “very bold.” He said the report takes the integration of active and reserve forces much farther than anyone had expected.
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