How Many Airmen?

Senate and House conferees working the just-passed 2008 defense appropriations bill have acknowledged a potential disconnect between the Air Force’s planned end strength drawdown and its force capabilities and emerging missions. The conferees directed the Air Force to “conduct a thorough review of its total force end strength requirements,” requesting a report with the Fiscal 2009 budget submission, due early next year. The lawmakers specifically ask USAF to explain current force structure capabilities and shortfalls for new and emerging missions. They also want USAF to determine whether it could “implement any corrective policy action within its own budget.” Unfortunately trying to stay within its allotted topline is what got USAF into this latest personnel drawdown spiral.