At the latest count (Dec. 14), 838 lieutenants in eight specialties are vulnerable to the first Fiscal 2008 Force-Shaping Board, slated to meet on March 31. Out of that number, USAF expected to separate 124 officers, but it has gotten seven to voluntarily leave the service. The field with the biggest target number is communications and information, which must lose 39 out of 215 eligible officers. Next is the developmental engineer field, which now must separate 35 out of 311 eligible; four officers in this field already have elected to leave. (See chart) Overall, the Air Force has said it will cut fewer airmen in 2008 than it did in 2007 toward reaching its end-strength goal of 316,000, still the current publicly espoused number.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.