To aid its efforts to “shape” the force, USAF has decreased by nine percent the number of new enlisted recruits it will accept in 2007 as compared to the previous year. The service plans to recruit 27,760 basic trainees, but it is directing them toward 20 specific career fields. The fields with the most openings are security forces, mechanics, administration, and electronics. The hottest fields right now, says CMSgt. Edward Vargas, superintendent of Air Force Recruiting Service operations division, are air and ground linguists and special tactics. USAF also has cut the number of college graduates it accepts in Officer Training School, making the wait about 12 to 18 months for the few officer slots. The service has the most officer openings for pilot, combat systems officer, air battle management, and electrical engineering. For 2007, the Air Force also has openings for doctors, dentists, and nurses.
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.