Demand for 365-day Airmen

The Air Force’s Air and Space Expeditionary Force construct has “saved our bacon in this fight,” according to outgoing personnel chief Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, who is awaiting confirmation to take command of US Air Forces in Europe). However, he told reporters at the Pentagon Dec. 18, there continues to be stress on the construct from the high tempo of operations in theater—and extraordinary demand for certain missions. Brady noted that more positions require a 365-day deployment, which is a problem since most of the force is working on 120-day or 179-day cycles. “The challenge there is that 365 days means there is a hole at home,” he said. “We will always fight the fight forward, but there is a rigorous debate to be had, and we need to do that prudently.” When airmen get shipped off to theater for a year, you still have to train and refresh the force back home, said Brady, explaining that leadership has to make certain that, when it accepts a 365-day deployment, it is one that is really needed. (Also read “Drawdown Blues Averted?”)